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Captain of the Lower

In 2013, Barangay Lower Conacon in the Municipality of Bayog have a charming, happy and a public servant lady.

Gemma Malaque Gumolon, 42 years old, married to Mr. Rey Pasco Gumolon. They have two children namely Remyjoy and Rainier.

This family lives their life simple, they planted fruits and vegetables and small agricultural farm for their living. Being a barangay kagawad receive an honorarium of 2,000- 3,000 pesos a monthly which is not enough.It was never easy as to imagine how their life lives in that moment. In the year 2007 a survey from the Department of Social Worker and Development conducted to approve the 4Ps beneficiaries in their Barangay. But they were all subject for approval and validation. A blessing comes in the year 2009 to the family of Gumolon as an approved pantawid beneficiaries. It was a new start of their dreams to come true and need to work harder for progress.

Pantawid beneficiaries were priority of the sustainable livelihood program offered from the agency of DSWD. But, not all of them will be granted within their community. They must work hard of it by attending orientation and other form of activity in forming an association. The application was made of twenty-five participants. The application did not take long. They granted a project amounting to Php250,000 pesos as a start-up capital for their income generatingproject. The assistance was under the SLP modality which is the Seed Capital Fund. It is capacity building grant given to the eligible SLP participant belonging to an SLP association.

The association enterprise was abaca production. They struggled how to start the business. They asked help from the PDO and LGU worker to assist them. September 2015 they received the abaca seeds. They look for a space where they could plant it. With the leadership of Gemma, she asks her father if they could lend an space for free for the abaca.  They borrowed two hectares from Gemma’s father and one hectare from Letecia A. Monares a member of the association. It shows how they are eager to help each other for the association. The abaca located at the Barangay Lower Conacon.

Their abaca will generate income after one or two years if it is ready to harvest.  The association members feel sad and impatience as they never receive any income that can help to their daily needs. Gemma and the group had a meeting and they decided to find another way to generate an income. Some members suggested for Bigasan enterprise and some were suggested hogs raising. They couldn’t proceed to Bigasan enterprise because of hazardous to travel of sacks ofrice. And hog raising because lack of water supply. One of the member suggested for money lending with 5% interest additional to principal amount in return for quarterly. The interest collected must be deposit into the account of the association. Gemma leads the voting which and what will be their additional income generating other than the abaca production. Majority of the member wanted the money lending with additional interest in return.

September 2018 they have cash in bank amounted to 125, 487 pesos and cash receivables to be collected on the month of November 120,400 pesos it includes the money lending payments. As of this moment they already earned forty-one thousand pesos in return of their investment in the money lending for three years after the grant received. For abaca production they encountered problems on how to harvest the abaca. First, is the location of the abaca, is a remote area and the machines are not ease to travel in the location and the availability of the owner of it. The group decided that with the cash availability they have, they can already buy a new machine “galingan” for abaca. Through this they can save more money rather than to pay high rate to the harvester. Planning and preparation of the group are ready. They are now looking for the best machine in the market.

According to Gemma, the members of the association appreciated and grateful to the 4Ps and SLP for the chances and opportunities they have right now. Because they can barrowed money for emergency purposes in the school and medical health with a lowest interest rate and can repay it within their capacity.And in the near future they claiming that the abaca production will grow more and have additional agricultural farm. Through the improvement of their agricultural farms they can also give opportunities to the residence in the community to be part of the association. Gemma also prepared the lease of contracts to both parties, the owner of the land and the SLP association in which their abaca located. Gemma’s leadership gain trust and confident not just to the community as will us to the association where she belongs. A woman with integrity and compassion for the people as she is now re-elected as Barangay Captain of the Lower and Upper Conacon. Sometimes she receives negative comments from bashers being a leader, yet she never gives up in leading to the association. Because she wanted that her members will grow and be responsible before she will leave the position of a president. She developed the “Magkahiusa aron Molambo ang Matag Usa”. Molding and equipping her members on how to be responsible not just within the association but also to the community where they belong. If Kapitana Gemma is not around, the rest of the officers takes in-charge in every meeting. That is how Captain of the Lower leads them. 

This post was written by:

- who has written 47 posts on DSWD Field Office IX Official Website.


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