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Determination triumphs over disability

Ashamed, dependent and pessimistic. This is how Eric describes his self before when he was stricken by a poliomyelitis during his growing up years. While her four other siblings were living a normal life, Eric was struggling with his condition. He felt like he was constrained by his disability and so he confined himself to their home for many years.

IMG_0730“Ta tiene gat iyo huya antes sale na casa. No quierre iyo mira conmigo mga hente, kay como ta ri sila conmigo o ta tiene sila con migo lastima. So hinde gat yo ta sale na casa.” (I was too ashamed to leave our house before. I didn’t want people to see me because they might just laugh at me or pity me, that’s why I would never leave the house.) Eric opened up.

Eric Pioquinto, who was 17 then, was visited by social workers who also invited him to join the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center. Eric shared that he felt guilty how the social workers had to return to their house several times because he didn’t consider the offer of getting him enrolled in a rehabilitation center for PWDs.

“Mga sinco beses gaha kel sila ya bira kumigo. Bien determinado gat tamen sila. Yan encourage gat sila conmigo cay man join iyo aqui na AVRC. Amo kel, cuando ya bisita yo aqui, otro gat iyo ya sinti cuando ya mira ya iyo el otro mga PWDs. Como hinde yo kaya mira canila cay como ta mira yo de miyo cuerpo canila. So nohay gat yo sigi.” (The social workers had to come to our house for 5 times. They were very persistent. They encouraged me to join the AVRC. So when I tried visiting the center, I felt indifferent. I didn’t want to see the other PWDs like me because I could see myself in them. So I refused to join them.) Eric narrated.

While feeling trapped in the four corners of their house, Eric dreamt of looking for his self somewhere. He didn’t know what to do until his father encouraged him to consider enrolling at AVRC. And so Eric reluctantly entered AVRC. Slowly, he was able to adjust and accept his situation, realizing that there’s no reason for him to confine himself as there are people who understand them and are ready to accept them.

“Despues cuanto dia, ya accepta ya yo. Grande ayuda cae el maga social workers ta entende sila el di amun sitwasyon. Ta habla sila canamun cae hinde dapat tiene huya cae hente tamen kame, muchu lang kame syempre cosa puede hace maskin PWD kame.” (I eventually accepted my condition. The social workers were a big help because they understand our situation. They would tell us that we shouldn’t feel ashamed because we are still humans and that we are still capable to do many things despite our disability.)

IMG_0723In 2007, Eric was a full time enrollee in DSWD’s AVRC, particularly in commercial arts and crafts where they were trained to design and make different products such as bags, slippers, tissue holders, etc. After 9 months, Eric and other differently abled clients in the center graduated from courses such as computer technology, agriculture and therapeutic massage for the blinds, among others.

Immediately after graduating, Eric was absorbed by the department’s Rehabilitation Sheltered Workshop Program, a non-residential business-work oriented facility that provides sheltered employment opportunities to PWDs.

“Una, hinde pa gat iyo bien hilig ese man tahi-tahi. Como yan enjoy lang gat iyo conele cay talya de mio mga barkada, pirmi kame huntu. Pero cuando ya conose iyo miyo mujer, ya pensa yo nesesita ya gat yo sen para hace bibi canila. So aquel, ya man seryoso ya iyo.” (At first it didn’t occur as a passion to me. I was just so happy that I got to be with my friends most of the time. Then when I met my wife, I felt like I really had to earn regularly for our family. That’s when I took my work seriously.) the twenty seven year old disclosed.

Some of the products made by Eric

Some of the products made by Eric

According to Eric, in every job order, he gets to earn around 3 to 4,000 pesos that has become their family’s primary source of living. This has given him the confidence and the ability to support his family financially.

“Grande ayuda gayot kumigo el Sheltered cay porcausa con este, ya puede yo hace bibi familia, gendeh yay o ta depende na demio mayors. Ya puede pa kame planta casa hinay-hinay.” (The Rehabilitation Sheltered Workshop of DSWD is really a big help to me because I was able to support my own family that I no longer depend on my parents. I was even able to build our own house.) Eric proudly shared.

Along with economic independence, he has also been getting the respect from the people around him because of his optimism and determination to walk the extra mile.

Currently, the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center is training 54 clients in 10 different courses and there have been more or less 70 PWDs facilitated with employment, sustainable livelihood and entrepreneurial activities since 2014.

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Redeeming children’s dreams

June 30, 2015 – “Gusto naku mahimug piloto!”(I want to be a pilot) Johan gleefully answered when asked what he wants to be when he grows up.

Like the five-year old Johan, children oftentimes will tell you their ambitions without any hesitation whenever asked. But how are they going to realize these dreams when even the basic educational facilities are not provided for them.

The makeshift classroom that the children used to occupy before the AusAid fund was granted through Kalahi-CIDSS

The makeshift classroom that the children used to occupy before the AusAid fund was granted through Kalahi-CIDSS

Every day, Johan and 30 more pre-schoolers have to put up with an age-old, makeshift classroom that might come crashing down anytime, especially during rainy season. Richard Patero, a school teacher grieves that for the past several years, the children have endured, but thankfully survived this plight.

“Pirting inita. Makita naku ang mga bata tanan mag sakripisyo. Ang bungbung namu di kaapas sa hangin, manglupad kung kusug ang hain, ang uwan. Pirting luuya sa mga bata. Ang uban lagyu pa ang mga panimalay, ga-hike ra ang uban.” (It was very hot. We saw the children suffer. The roofs were blown away by high winds. We really pitied the students. Others come from far villages, even others just walk.)

The situation in barangay San Jose in Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte is such a discomfort to the children. Education is not the only matter at risk – even the safety of the pupils is compromised. One of the parents expressed their anxiety whenever they leave their children in school as they also have to look for a living during daytime.

“Mabalaka lang mi pirmi sa mga bata kay basin ang atup ilupad, ana ba. Wala gyud siguridad ang maga bata.” (We always worry about our children. They weren’t safe at all.) One of the parents shared.

The construction of pre-school classroom has been the clamor of the residents. The parents, the community, and the municipality could not provide this very basic need because of still another persisting problem – poverty.

mayor“As much as we want to give the children a comfortable place to learn, the LGU only had limited resources. That’s why we tried channeling our requests through the government agencies. Maswerte mi kay naa gyud na luuy!” Mayor Eugenio Baliling, Sr. quipped.

The KALAHI-CIDSS Project began operating in the municipality in 2009. Kalahi is a DSWD-implemented community-driven program that gathers residents forming assemblies and volunteer groups. These volunteers, chosen by the communities, were to be development workers. They were tasked to identify, implement, and afterwards manage the operation and maintenance of the constructed projects.

At that time, the residents didn’t have any idea where the project will lead them. They were doubtful of the possibility of getting a project from Kalahi-CIDSS. But eventually, the drive to give the children a bright future had prevailed. A former Barangay Sub-project Management Committee Chair now San Jose’s Village Chairman disclosed how they were convinced to volunteer in Kalahi-CIDSS in 2009 despite the uncertainty.

Former BSPMC Chair, now barangay captain Ramon Benson

Former BSPMC Chair, now barangay captain Ramon Benson

“Katung niabut ang Kalahi hadluk pa mi mag-apil-apil, kay di man gud mi kabalu unsa himuun. Pero katung nianhi na ang mga taga DSWD, gipasabut mi, na-lipay mi. Huna-huna namu kay basig kini na gyud ang solusyon sa among mga bata.” (When Kalahi came, we were so afraid and hesitant to join and participate because we didn’t know what to do. But when somebody from DSWD explained to us what the program is all about, we were so happy. We thought that maybe this could really solve our problem.)

Together with Ramon, his co-volunteers started attending barangay assemblies where community members are allowed to voice out their opinions, problems that need to be addressed urgently. Aside from these, they were asked to attend trainings and other capacity-building activities that will equip them for them to perform their assigned tasks.

“Lahi ra jud ang proseso sa Kalahi kompara anang among ginapangayu sa ubang institusyon. Dinhi namu naedukar ang among kaugalingun. Per syempre, tungod sa training, daku nga responsibilidad pud ang gihatag kanamu. Sa pag-budget, sa pag-canvass. Pero nig-sakripisyo mi kay among gi-bati kini na ang makahatag sa amu nga proyekto.” (The process in kalahi is very different compared to the others. It is through kalahi that we were able to educate ourselves. But of course, in exchange of all the trainings that we have attended, huge responsibilities were given to us. In budgeting, canvassing. But we made sacrifices because we knew that it’s going to give us a project.)

However, those high hopes were like suddenly crushed when their proposed project didn’t make it to the prioritized list that will be funded by Kalahi-CIDSS.

20150618_144529“Kaming mga volunteers, pag-uli namu dili pud jud namu mapugngan nga dili mahiubus kay wala nasulod ang amoang proyekto kay dili na kaya sa kantidad.” (When we went home, we couldn’t help but to feel bad because our project was not prioritized.)

The emotions were high among the volunteers. Some of them expressed their disheartenment over the MIBF results. The only thing Ramon could do that time was to calm them down and instead think of other ways on how they can still help the children.

“Nilabay mga pila ka-adlaw, ni-okay ra gihapun. Nagtandem mi sa akung abtik kaayu nga Barangay Captain. So ang amung gihimu, naghimu mi ug extension room (makeshift classroom) sa eskwelahan, dayun gipagamit ang maong (makeshift) classroom sa mga daku-daku nga mga estudyante ug ang mga pre-school children didtu sa classroom nga maayo.” (Days passed, everything went right again. We were in tandem with our very active barangay Captain. So what we did was we built a makeshift classroom, that’s where we placed our elementary students. Then the pre-schoolers were transferred to the elementary classrooms.) Ramon related.

The situation remained that way until 2011 when Kalawit became a recipient of Makamasang Tugon. During the MT cycle, residents of San Jose proposed the construction of Elementary Classroom Building instead as the pre-schoolers were already transferred to the classroom where the elementary pupils were supposed to stay. Eventually, the elementary classroom was built in no time. It was occupied by 30 students who used to share one classroom with 30 others.

A few years had passed, the hope of getting a pre-school classroom for the children had slowly diminished, and ironically that was when something else came up.

In 2013, the municipality of Kalawit received a share from the Australian Agency for International Development’s (AusAID). Barangay San Jose in particular was given Php690,275.

The pre-school building completed through the AusAid grant and the bayanihan of the community volunteers

The pre-school building completed through the AusAid grant and the bayanihan of the community volunteers

“Katung ni-abut na ang AusAid, daghan pang gipanglihuk nga mga dokumento. Kay kinahanglan man counterpart, human katung time na tu ang budget naka-program na sya sa laing mga proyekto. Ang among gipanghimu, gi-reprogram na pud namu ang kwarta para lang gyud maka-counterpart.” (When AusAid came, we processed a lot of documents. Because we were told that we had to provide for the counterpart. That time, our budget was already programmed in other projects. So what we did was we re-programmed the budget just so we can produce the counterpart.) Ramon explained.

52 children rejoiced over the completion of their pre-school building. 22 of them are pantawid beneficiaries.

“Dili na mi mag-pas-an ug maghakut ug kawayan ug sah-sah para sa classroom ug komportable na pud ang mga bata sa pagtuun, human 100% na gyud ang attendance para sa pantawid.” (We no longer need to collect bamboos and dried coconut leaves for the classroom. The students are now very comfortable to learn.) shared a pantawid grantee and a mother of one of the pre-schoolers.

“Lipay mi sa project tungod kay, nahatag na gyud ang solusyon. Luha gyud ni sa kalipay. Lain da gyud ang project sa kalahi. Diri na namu nakita ani diay ang proseso sa gobyerno. Kung ing ani tanan nga programa, walay mausik nga cantidad kay very transparent.” (We are very happy about the project because it solved our problem. These are tears of joy. Kalahi-CIDSS is really different because it showed and taught us the processes in the government. If all programs are implemented this way, no amount of money will be wasted.) Ramon said in tears.

Meanwhile, his co-volunteer had other reasons to feel happy about after the construction of the classroom. “Ug wala pa mi nahimong volunteer, dili pa mi kabalu sa mga materials. Karun kahibalo name ug pwede na naming ma-apply sa amung panimalay.” (If it wasn’t for Kalahi, we wouldn’t learn about the construction materials that we can apply in our home.)

preschool 2

The pre-chool classroom built through Kalahi-CIDSS is with complete facilities

After years of waiting, Barangay San Jose now has a new classroom which was just recently inaugurated last June 19, 2015 complete with chairs, tables and restroom, ready for use.

“Nagpasalamat kog daku kay tungod ni ining Australian Aid nga nahimu mi nga recipient. Ug salamat sa sa tanan nga mitabang ug nagpaagas sa ilang singut para marealize ang kini nga project. Dili namu ni pasagdan nga proyekto, kinahanglan mamentenar gyud ang kahusay, kalimpyu ug kabag-o sa kini nga proyekto.” (We thank the AusAid for granting us a project. Also thank you to those helped us realize this project. We will take good care of this and we will make sure that it is always clean.) Teacher Richard promised.

 

 

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Dalan sa kalinaw (Pathway to peace): The tri-people’s legacy

“Naa’ay gisulud mga baynti ka armed men sa barangay Sulo, didtu sa baligyaan, sa merkado. Dayun gitulis ang mga tawu, mga nagbaligya ug isda, goma. Nagcause na sya ug upat katawu namatay kay gipangpusil man sila.” (Around 20 armed men entered our village, particularly at the wet market. The people were robbed. Four people were killed in that incident.) Maritess finally started.

It was three years ago when the bucolic town of Naga were stunned by the cruel and still unsolved murder of some residents. However, Maritess recalled the incident with fear still evident in her eyes.

IMG_0121 (2)

Tess, a 42-year old native of barangay Sulo in Naga serves as a barangay secretary and a Procurement Team Member of Kalahi-CIDSS Barangay Sub-project Management Committee. She has been active in participating in the different development efforts in the community, including the construction of the 395 meters concrete pathway, a project which they hoped would end their struggle and will prevent the same incident to happen again.

Naga, an interior municipality found in ZamboangaSibugay province, is considered to have frequently pressing humanitarian concerns because of the prevailing climate of distrust and fear among its residents caused by peace and order threats. A home to tri-people, the Christians, Muslims and the Lumads, Naga has been continuously struggling to be able to get loose from stereotypical impression of the outsiders that their town is a conflict torn and affected community.

Tess was in town of Sulo that day saw her neighbors rushing to a school located in Bulansing (an isolated sitio in barangay Sulo) to fetch their daughters and sons.

“Nagchaos ang mga tawu, nanagan mi. Nakit-an naku ang uban gahilak gadagan padung sa skwelahan didtu sa Bulansing. Layu-layu man pudtu, mga upat kakilometro gikan sa sentro. Dili man sya accessible by vehicles, maskin kanang single motorcycles, kinahanglan pa baclayun. Mao tu naglisud ang mga parents kuha dayun sa mga anak.” (Everyone panicked. We ran,  and I saw some of our neighbors were crying, rushing to school to fetch their children. The school was four kilometres away from us and it was not even passable for vehicles making it difficult for parents to get their children immediately.)

Aside from this, Tess also recounted that the police struggled to respond because they still had to walk through the narrow and hilly trail to get to the crime scene. The same incident transpired after a few weeks and this prompted the community members to act upon the situation.

“Bahin atu, nakadecide mi kay concrete pathway gyud ang among kinahanglan ibutang sa sitio Bulansing. Nakit-an namu kay dakug kaayuhan gyud ning ihatag. Una, easy and safe access para sa tanan, ang pagresponde sa pulis kung naay mga panghitabu, human narealize pud namu kay kini pud ang mahimung bridge sa mga lain-lain nga tribo.” (Because of that, we saw the need to construct a concrete pathway. We saw that it was the best project for all. Aside from it can give us easy and safe access for the residents, most especially for the police whenever something happens, we also realized that it can serve as a bridge between our people.) Tess recounted, referring to the Subanens who live in Bulansing.

“Kami isip myembro sa komunidad, gi-konsider namu sya kaayuhan pud sa mga Subanen tribe. Ang nigawas man ngamuragsacentrolangangnatagaanug project kung asa ang mga kristyano, syempre lain pud nang feeling murag nabiyaan sila. So gusto pud namu participate pud sila kay para sa ilaha man pud nang dalan.” (As a member of the community, we also considered the welfare of the Subanen. Because when we were given the first project of PAMANA, it seemed that they were left behind. So we wanted them to participate because the pathway was for their own good.)

SAM_1001 (2)Through the 300,000 cash grant from OPAPP, the construction of concrete pathway was constructed in sitioBulansing, barangay Sulo, Naga in September 2013. The implementation of the sub-project followed the Kalahi-CIDSS Community Driven Development approach which gives opportunity to the community members to participate in the entire process through volunteerism.

The completion of the concrete pathway came in no time which has been credited to the determination, unity and cooperation among the people of barangay Sulo regardless the religion, tribe, age and gender, everyone took part to ensure there is security and peace in the community.

Tess sees volunteering as an opportunity to share her knowledge as a public servant and at the same time will pave the way for Lumad to establish a better relationship with other people.

“Maskin wala compensation nga madawat okay lang basta duna pud mi ikashare nga kahibalu. Kay anytime mawala ta sa kalibutan di natu madala. So karun that’s the time na itodo na. Nakit-an pud namu pagkakakaron dunay na syang linkages, nagmingle na ang mga kristyano, muslim ug mga Subanen nga nipuyo sa Bulansing.  Ang ilahang gibati kay ang centro gane naka dawat  sa pamana, kami pud so nafeel na nila kay part  pud sila sa community, sa paglambu. Nibalik ang ilahang pagsalig sa gobyerno, walay rejection, maskin unsa ang lahi, Sa Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA, tanan gitrato as kalahi.” (Even we don’t get any compensation, I just wanted to share my little knowledge because anytime we might just leave this world, we cannot bring it with us after all. The project also now serves as a linkage between Christian, muslim and Subanen. It made them feel that they are part of the community because they too availed of the Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA project. They now feel that they are part of the progress, they gave back their trust to the government, no more rejection, regardless the religion, the tribe, the culture, with Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA, everyone is treated the same). Tess stated.

Students and kids in Bulansing, Sulo comfortably walking on newly constructed pathway by Kalahi-CIDSS - PAMANA

Students and kids in Bulansing, Sulo comfortably walking on newly constructed pathway by Kalahi-CIDSS – PAMANA

Tess also added that their community now feel safe and secured above all. “Di na mi mabalaka kay kabalu mi, di mi biyaan sa gobyerno kay gihatagan nila mig dalan padung sa kalinaw.” (We now feel safe because we know the government will never leave us because they have bequeathed us a legacy—a pathway to peace.)

The PAMANA implementation of DSWD is nearing its end  in 11 municipalities in Western Mindanao. In its wake, it has left behind 634 community projects like roads, schools, health stations and livelihood enhancers that immediately address the community’s needs. But more than just concrete structures, PAMANA has left some more important legacies – peace, unity and a progressive community.

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PAMANA Women: Lighting their way home

Siocon, Zamboanag del Norte 01/22/2015 — In the early times, the primary role of women was to care for their family and home. A sphere where she can express her femininity is narrowed to a certain extent and restricted to her marital life where her role as a female is revealed. But now, the role of women has significantly transformed. Women now don’t only fulfil their filial responsibilities as a mother and wife, but they also shed light to attain communal peace and development as empowered citizens.

Barangay Poblacion of the municipality of Siocon is one of the areas in Zamboanga del Norte with so many inspiring stories to tell. Siocon is a budding municipality located in the upland and forested area west of Zamboanga del Norte province. In spite of being a 1st class municipality, Siocon used to face social conflict. Due to having been perceived as a “hotspot” by the locals where individuals in conflict with law are based, the place has become inaccessible for government interventions to penetrate the place.

“Hindi naman mismo dito nag-gyegyera, pero yun nga may mga sightings daw, may mga naninirahan na lawless (elements) kaya nahihirapan dati ang mga workers na magbigay ng tulong.” (There’s no insurgency here, but still some would say that there are sightings of lawless elements, some even live here that’s why the government workers really find it difficult to extend their help.) Baby opened up.

BeryaneJutingo, 53 years old or Baby as she is commonly called by their neighbors is a community volunteer. Together with Baby was Genara Lorete or Nara who served as her constant companion. While proudly showing a picture of their community sub-project, they both shared their situation before the implementation of PAMANA project cycle 2— the 34 units streetlights that they install themselves.

“Noon alas seis ng hapon pa lang, kasi madilim eh, lahat nasa loob na ng bahay. Siguro isa yun sa mga rason kung bakit laging may away, laging may hindi pagkakaintindihan. Hindi kasi sila nag-uusap palagi.” (Before, as early as six in the evening, people here are already home. Maybe it is one of the reasons why there are always conflict and misunderstanding because people hardly talk to each other.) Nara said. While Baby added that before the completion of the project, people used to complain about cases of bullying. “Dati kasi pag madilim yan ang pinagsisimulan ng gulo. Yung nagtitrip lang. Kung madilim dali lang gyud maka-ikyas, dagan lang dayun didtu kay singgit man gud!” (There used to be cases of bullying when there were still no streetlights. Because they can easily escape since the surrounding was very dark. )

Seeing the need to address this problem, in May 19, 2014 the community started the construction and installation of the 34 units streetlights in different strategic areas with the help of the funds given by OPAPP amounted to Php 300,000.00.

Community volunteers putting up one of the 34 units streetlight

Community volunteers putting up one of the 34 units streetlight

“Streetlights po talaga ang naisip naming kasi makakatulong yun sa pagpapabuti ng relasyon ng mga tao sa barangay namin, ug dili na ba kana, delikado.” (The first thing that really came into our minds were streetlights because it will help in improving the relationship of the people in our village and it also minimizes risks.)

Out of 25 volunteers in Poblacion, 16 are women.

“Kay kasagaran man gyud diri ang ilahang mga bana naa gyud trabaho. So syempre ang akung nakuha nga mga volunteers women gyud. Human, willing man pud sila, so ingun ku, sigi!” (Because usually their husbands are working. So of course I got women volunteers instead. They were really willing so I said, why not?) Marlyn Duhaylungsod, Village’s Chairwoman explained.

And so Baby and Nara proved how women work differently compared to men in terms of commitment. “Murag mag bente kwatro oras gyud mi magwork kay i-try unta namu humanun before muabut 45 days. Naabut jud! Kapuy pero enjoy pud  kay makaapil-apil sa pag-cut sa tubo, sa bars. Then siguro ang memorable gyud katung nagpintal mi sa bars. Kay nindut gyud nigawas ang mga poste. Mga bayi  lang tu tanan ang nagpintal.” (Seemed like we were already working for almost 24 hours because we wanted to finish the project before the 45 days timeline, and fortunately we did it! It was tiresome but we enjoyed it because we were able to join the laborers in cutting the pipes, the bars. And perhaps the most memorable experience was when we painted the bars. It came out so nice. All who did the painting were women volunteers.)

However, Baby and Nara still had to deal with some challenges in the course of the implementation.

“Ah nagproblema gyud mi sa katung mga materyales nga gipag deliver nga dili man amo. Dili ba fitting ang mga tubo. Pero kami nalang pud

Women volunteers painting the streetlight bars

Women volunteers painting the streetlight bars

ang naghimu ug mga kalihukan para magamit lang gihapun sya. Then nahimulang pud sa pag tinabangay.” (We really had a problem with the materials delivered with incorrect specifications. The pipe didn’t fit but we made a way on how we can still use the materials. And through unity, we were able to do it.) Baby said.

While Nara was confronted with a problem of dividing her time being both a volunteer and a mother. “Lisud gyud. Pero maayu na lang kay ang akung bana, gapuli-puli lang mi sa mga bata.” (It was real hard. Good thing that my husband does my duties whenever I can’t.)

“Karun naa na suga, ang mga tawu naa na sa gawas, istorya-istorya, bonding-bonding. Then ang uban nakit-an gyud naku kay ga-tanum na man. Kay wala man daw sila oras sa adlaw. Then wala na pud mga buguy magbato. Lingaw na ang mga tawu.” (Now that our barangay is already well-lighted, people now stay outside even at night. They now get the chance to talk to each other more often. Then I also saw the others starting to plant in their vicinity which they couldn’t do before because it’s only at night that they have time to do it.) Barangay Chairwoman gladly related.

pamana light 5

Baby and Nara couldn’t also help but to share how the particular project has changed them as a woman and a resident of their barangay.

“Ngayon yung feeling naming malaki ang kontribusyon naming sa barangay namin. Yung may halaga pala kami. May magagawa pala kami

para sa iba at yun ay dahil sa PAMANA.” (Now I feel that I have a huge contribution in our community. That we are worthy and we can do something for the others because of PAMANA.) Baby related.

“Syempre ngayon may pakialam na kami. Hindi yung noon, pag babae, magsilbi lang sa kanilang bana. Karun ah, ga participate na gyud mi. Kaya pala namu!” (Of course now we can say that we already care. Unlike before, women are viewed as the ones who are only attending to the needs of their husbands and children. Now, we really participate and we realized that we also are capable.) Nara added.

PAMANA o Payapa at Masaganang Mamamayan provides seed funds per barangay in the identified municipalities for peace and development projects that were identified through consultations with the barangay residents. Through PAMANA, poor communities were able to identify their most urgent needs, taking into consideration their effect on improving peace and hastening development in their areas

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Septuagenarian woman volunteers, drives change

“Wala na gyud mas bata pa sa imu nay?” (Is there really no one else who’s younger than you?)

This doesn’t ring well to anyone’s ears. But to Rebecca Alforque, she just nimbly shrugs it off.

“I just answer them with a big smile. Mu-ingun nalang ku, ah, sigi lang, basta ka-trabaho pa, mu-trabaho gihapun.” (It’s okay. Just as long as I am still capable, I will still work.) Rebecca pleasantly recounts how she reacts to people scoffing at her capacity almost every day she spent volunteering.

Rebecca Alforque aka Nanay Bing, 71, PT Chairperson of KC-PAMANA project in Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur

Rebecca Alforque aka Nanay Bing, 71, PT Chairperson of KC-PAMANA project in Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur

Yes, 71-year old Rebecca is a volunteer. And with this, she is one woman who deserves some serious credits because it’s not easy to take time out of our lives and volunteer for community projects, especially when you’re ageing. And so it goes with the feisty, funny, and fervently devout woman born in Lamitan City, Basilan.

Nanay Bing, as how she opts to be called by her family and neighbours, walks to her volunteer job at the Barangay Hall of Curvada, Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. She works six hours a day as a Procurement Team chairperson under the Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA project.

As she will tell you, “Alas dyes sa umaga nandito na ako sa (barangay) hall pagkatapos ko magturo sa mga bata.” (I come here at 10 o’clock in the morning in (barangay) hall after I finish teaching kids.)

Nanay Bing has been also working as a Day Care Worker since 2012. From eight o’clock until 10:00 am, she holds a class with toddlers as teaching is the closest profession to her heart. She earned her teaching license in 1969 and was immediately given a permanent position in a local primary school in Zamboanga City. Before the volunteer work she worked abroad for more than a decade just so she could raise her 6 children since her marriage didn’t end up the way she wanted.

“Nag-abroad akong sampung taon, nibalik diri, karun tanan akung mga anak human na. Pero sa akung huna-huna, dili sa akung pamilya mahuman ang akung responsibilidad isip usa ka tawu. So nung sinabi nila magvoluneteer daw, ni-apil gyud ku.” (I went abroad for 10 years, then came back when all my children had already finished schooling. But I thought, my responsibility as a person will not end in my family. So when they asked me to volunteer, I immediately agreed.) Nanay Bing said.

In 2013, the village chairman appointed Nanay Bing as the Procurement Team head of the Kalahi-CIDDS Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee which had gotten some forms of disfavour from barangay officials and fellow volunteers because of her age. However, this made Nanay Bing even more fervent in proving that she wasn’t a liability.

As a Procurement Team chair, she was tasked to lead in taking charge of all activities required to acquire all the supplies, materials, equipment and labor from suppliers/contractor needed in completing the project.

“Lisud sa kalisud magvolunteer labi ng kana mag-serve na ta sa canvass. Naa man gyud mga supplier nga dili ga-respeto. Then mahibal-an pa nila kay dili cash, dili na gyud sila mu-accept. So that’s why I had to use my convincing power. Never give-up!” (Working as a volunteer is not easy especially during serving of the canvass. You encounter suppliers who are not courteous. Especially when they find out that the payment is not in cash, they rarely accept it.) With conviction, Nanay Bing related the difficulties she had encountered during procurement. However, she is proud that she somehow survived it saying that she now finally understands and appreciates the entire process of procurement and that she is glad to contribute in spending the public’s money properly necessary to realize this project.

“Masaya ako kasi marami akong natutunan na hindi pala basta-basta ang paggawa ng ganito. Proud pud kay nakaya gyud naku i-manage ang akung responsibilidad maskin bayi ku o ani lang ku, tiguwang na.” (I am happy because I’ve learned that procurement isn’t that easy. I am also proud that I was able to perform my responsibility eventhough I’m a woman or I’m like this, aging.) She added.

Nanay Bing has been volunteering and loving it ever since. While she doesn’t earn anything from volunteering, she expressed that she enjoys spending a lot of time with her co-volunteers, community and especially the youth beneficiaries they serve in the technical courses training which ran for about one month.

“Yung mga kabataan kasi dito, lalo na yung hindi nag-aral karamihan umiinom, magsusugal, kung wala ng pera, magnakaw na sila para may pang-sugal lang. Madaming gulo. (Most of the young people here, especially the out-of-school youth spend their time just to get drunk, gambit. When they have nowhere else to turn to, they resort to robbery just to support their vices.) she related.

In January this year, KC-PAMANA made its way to Tukuran. Bringing in peace lens in implementing community development projects, the residents of the municipality were enlivened as they had seen it as an opportunity to address peace and order issues in their locality.

“Nalingaw gyud mi kay niabut ang kalahi ug pamana diri. Na-kit-an nila kay kinahanglan namu ang aning proyektoha para sa mga bata.” (We were so happy that kalahi and pamana came to our town. Maybe they saw how we badly need this project for the youth.) Nanay Bing cheerfully said.

Denmark Pellugan, 19, OSY, a beneficiary of KC-PAMANA short technical course training

Denmark Pellugan, 19, OSY, a beneficiary of KC-PAMANA short technical course training

Denmark Pellugan, 19 years old, who was one of the beneficiaries of the project, shared how his life has changed after undergoing the training.

“Lingaw mi kay pwede na mi karun magtrabaho. Dili na mi maka-apil-apil sa mga maut nga actibidades. Arun maka-kwarta pud para sa kaugmaun. Salamat sa kalahi ug pamana kay gihatagan mi’g libre nga training.” (We are glad that we can now get a job. We will not have anymore reasons to engage into crimes. We will now earn for our future. We are thankful to kalahi and pamana for the free training they’ve given us.) Denmark shared.

Eventhough Nanay Bing went through numerous challenges, seeing the beneficiaries like Denmark improve their lives, she still continued and tried to see volunteering as a worthwhile activity of giving back to the community and showing them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help others and enact change.

OSY TESDA graduates listening obediently to Kalahi CIDSS-NCDDP Area Coordinator Moner Ampuan during their commencement exercises on May 28, 2014 in Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. 125 out-of-school youths benefitted from training on short technical courses implemented by DSWD’s Kalahi CIDSS-PAMANA in partnership with TESDA. Courses offered were welding, plumbing, air conditioning, and RAC refrigeration

OSY TESDA graduates listening obediently to Kalahi CIDSS-NCDDP Area Coordinator Moner Ampuan during their commencement exercises on May 28, 2014 in Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. 125 out-of-school youths benefitted from training on short technical courses implemented by DSWD’s Kalahi CIDSS-PAMANA in partnership with TESDA. Courses offered were welding, plumbing, air conditioning, and RAC refrigeration

“Madami na ang nag-graduate. Yung iba nasa Maynila na. Doon na nagtrabaho. Wala na kaming makita mga magtambay diha sa dalan. Kay tanan man busy na mangit’g trabaho kay naa na gyud sila certificate. Murag, gaan pud ba sa pagbati nga nakatabang ta sa ilaha. The fulfilment is bigger than being a teacher, being a mother. In volunteering, kita gyud ang mag-lead sa change.” (Many have already graduated. Others are already working in Manila. We don’t see bystanders anymore because all of them are busy looking for a job carrying with them their (TESDA) certificates)

Right through the sub-project implementation, the volunteering experience, Nanay Bing had never thought that despite her senescence, she could still take part in the community development efforts. She couldn’t even believe that apart from being a teacher, a wife and a mother, there’s an empowered woman inside her that can influence and bring about change in the lives of many.

“Sabi nila mahirap magbago. Anong mahirap? Kung gusto, kaya talaga. Hindi man natin agad makita, pero kailanagn simulan mo sa sarili mo. Whether you are young or old, if you are still able to do something for the country or community to change it for the better, do not hesitate. Neither wait for any compensation or anything just remember that all our labour here on earth is not in vain in the sight of our creator.” (They say it’s so hard to change. I say, it’s not. If we want it, then we surely can. We may not see it right away but we should always start it in our self.) Nanay Bing concluded.

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Community participation and transparency making elusive learning a reality

Tukuran, ZDS – Access to education still remains one of the most pressing concerns of the people in the rural area where many disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors come from. Several students in these areas still rely on makeshift classrooms, or if not, lose their means of attending school. This holds true for the children in Barangay Man-ilan in the municipality of Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur.

Almost 10 kilometers away from the highway, traveled through rough road by a few habal-habal (motor for hire) vehicles, Man-ilan elementary school seems isolated which makes it almost impossible for outsiders to reach.

The two makeshift classrooms in Man-ilan elementary school which students used to occupy.

The two makeshift classrooms in Man-ilan elementary school which students used to occupy.

“Sa una ma’am gamay lang gyud ang mga estudyante namu. Katung mga naka-enrol diri, kasagaran ga-transfer pud kay kung ga-ulan, matuluan gyud sila kay murag gi-himu-himu lang man ang ilahang room. So ang tendency, dili na lang sila mureport kay makit-an man gyud sa mga ginikanan ang ilahang sitwasyon. Ang uban nga diri gapuyo pero sa laing nga eskwela ga-sulud, mu-baclay pa sa pikas nga baryo kay didtu maayu man ang classrooms.”(Before, we only had a small number of students here. Most of those who were enrolled here would eventually transfer because when it rains they would get wet as they only occupied a makeshift classroom. So the tendency was, they don’t attend school anymore because their parents could see their situation. The others who are supposed to be enrolled here, needed to take a longer route at the other side of the village, just to get to the other schools because that’s where they find more convenient to attend.) Nezaida Labrador, Man-ilan Teacher recalls the situation of their school before and how it affected the students.

That day, Nezaida together with other teachers were busy conducting a cooking activity participated by both teachers and students as part of their nutrition month celebration in school. She added that before, they didn’t have a conducive place to carry out such activity.

 

“Duha ka room lang sa una, so ga-schedule gyud mi unsa grade ang mugamit anang room sa kanang orasa. So there was practically no means for us to have this kind

Nezaida Labrador, Teacher at Man-ilan Elementary school showing one of the classrooms completed through KC-GPBP.

Nezaida Labrador, Teacher at Man-ilan Elementary school showing one of the classrooms completed through KC-GPBP.

of activity before.” (We only had two classrooms then. So we had to schedule who gets to use the room at this particular time.)

This kind of situation lasted a little longer as people were a bit passive in taking part in community development efforts initiated by the government.

“Ah, gamay lang gyud mu attend mga anang asembliya sa una. Mga lima, daku na nang dyes katau. Siguro pud, maulaw sila, kay basig dili sila kasabut. Ana ba.”(Only a few would attend barangay assemblies before. Five people, 10 was already a significant number then. Maybe because, they were reluctant that they might not understand whatever is being discussed there.) BSPMC Chairperson Mamelito Butir shared how government projects were received by the people few years back.

This year, particularly on January 28, was no ordinary day for Man-ilan, as community members themselves started the construction of 1 unit, 4-classroom building through Kalahi-CIDSS program adapting the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP).

What was once referred to as the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) is now called Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP). It is a planning and budgeting approach of formulating budget proposals of government agencies which addresses the needs of the poor municipalities through soft and hard projects. These projects are pre-identified in the Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan as endorsed by the basic sectors and civil society organizations.

bub 3

“Nagsugud na mi dayun. Ang katung problema lang sa una, kana bang syempre ang kinaiya sa tawu nay dili natu mapasabut, pero daghan mi ug kalihukan para mapasabut lang sila. Sa kaluuy sa ginoo, gi-succeed da gihapun ang among tumong. Kaayuhan da gihapun sa community. Basta amu silang gipasabut kay naa ta’y proyekto gihatag sa kalahi. Kinahanglan mu tabang ta. Tabang lang pud dayun sila.” (We started immediately. However, the problem at first was of course, people are individually different; there are times that we can hardly let them understand what our supposed responsibilities are, but we made a lot of effort for them to comprehend and even appreciate the project. With God’s grace, we still succeeded in realizing our objective and that is for the welfare of the community. We let them know that we have a project given by kalahi and gpb and we need to help each other, and so they right away did.) Mamelito related.

Mamelito Butir, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee Chairperson, sharing their experiences in working as KC-GPBP volunteer

Mamelito Butir, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee Chairperson, sharing their experiences in working as KC-GPBP volunteer

Men and women of different sectors came together to volunteer and participate in the construction of the classrooms with total cost amounting to Php 2,572,424.00.

Taken on July 23, 2014. The actual completed 1 unit, 4-classroom building implemented through the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process led by DSWD’s Kalahi-CIDSS.

Taken on July 23, 2014. The actual completed 1 unit, 4-classroom building implemented through the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process led by DSWD’s Kalahi-CIDSS.

Now, Man-ilan elementary students no longer have to put up with makeshift classrooms, especially during the on-set of rainy weather. Consequently, the  new  facility  has  encouraged more  children to   enrol in the village’s   primary school,  increasing  the  number of  enrolees  to  136  at  present  as compared to on less than 100 last year.

“Apan sa pagtukud sa kining classroom, gi-pull out namu ang mga estudyante nga residente diri sa Man-ilan pero enrolled sa mga eskwela sa laing barangay. Kay  gusto pud namu magamit gyud nila ang proyekto nga para ilaha. Di na sila mu-baclay sa kalayu.”(Upon the completion of the project, we immediately pulled out the students who reside in Man-ilan but were enrolled in different school located in other barangay. We also wanted them to benefit the decent classroom that was purposely made for them. They no longer have to take a long walk.) Nezaida added.

Thus, what seemed elusive for the students of Man-ilan to access education before, is now a reality which community people themselves have made possible through participation, transparency and accountability.

 

The essence of GPBP is partnership and harnessing the active involvement and participation of the people in governance. With the continuous implementation of GPBP, poor municipalities like Tukuran will now look forward to a better future where the government and the citizenry work together towards one common goal. ###LMSM

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Battling Poverty Through Building Disaster-resilient Communities

Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur 06/23/2014 – In recent years, there has been a budding recognition that strengthening resilience to disasters is not only about disaster management but an essential component of all emergency and development programming. Communities with sustainable infrastructures that provide livelihoods, good levels of health care and access to a quality education are less susceptible to hazards. However, it is also important that these development projects are protected from disasters.

To ensure that disaster risk reduction is an integral part of its development work and that all its programmes work towards disaster risk reduction in an integrated and mutually supportive way, the DSWD through its Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Integrated and Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) has recently launched its Thematic Environmental Management System. This system forms part of the program’s goal of making innovative pathways for building community resiliency and develop communities to be equipped with knowledge on environmental responsibility.

However, even before institutionalizing the system as part of Kalahi-CIDSS implementation, a number of municipalities has already been integrating environmental safety measures in building community sub-projects in the countryside. The municipality of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur was among the awardees of Best Practice in Promoting Community Environment and Awareness because of its sub-project constructed last February 2013 particularly in Barangay Pangi.

Parent Teachers Association (PTA) members, Laborers and community volunteers render their free service to excavate and clear the area to continue the construction of the elementary school building in Pangi, Kumalarang, ZDS.

Parent Teachers Association (PTA) members, Laborers and community volunteers render their free service to excavate and clear the area to continue the construction of the elementary school building in Pangi, Kumalarang, ZDS.

Barangay Pangi is one of the poor barangays of Kumalarang with no enough classrooms to occupy its elementary enrolees. The community has expressed its intention to access funding assistance from KC-AusAID for the construction of 1 unit 2 classroom elementary school building. The said project was worth Php 1,414,821.40 funded by Australian Aide for International Development (AusAID) with local counterpart contribution coming from the BLGU, MLGU and community.

Since the identified project site is an upland area, landslides represent a substantial threat to students and school members. During the construction of the sub-project, unexpectedly soil on the rear side of the building slides which hampered the operation and completion of the sub-project on time.

Seeing the need to prevent the same incident to happen in the future, series of consultation were done at the community level to ensure the stability and sustainability of the sub-project. Three options were presented at the community such as benching with installation of coconut hush net, rip rapping and the so called soil bioengineering techniques. Technical personnel had also assessed the characteristics of the soil prior to finalization of slope protection concept. The team decided to employ the latter option wherein there is benching with vegetation control or nearly similar with the Live Fascine technique to support failing slopes or to reduce slope angles and allow other vegetation to be established.

The actual completed 1 unit 2 classroom building of Pangi Elementary School landscaped through Soil Bioengineering Technique with benching and vegetation

The actual completed 1 unit 2 classroom building of Pangi Elementary School landscaped through Soil Bioengineering Technique with benching and vegetation

Melchor Verallo, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee Chairperson shared how this particular project is different and special as compared to other community projects they were provided. “Kahit na di kami naprioritize sa pondo ng kalahi (CIDSS), dito sa tulong ng Ausaid di lang kami natuto gumawa ng proposals, mga paglihok sa papeles, dito may bago kaming kanang nakat-unan kung paunsaon ang pag-construct sa usa ka building nga stable, dili maapektuhan sa kalamidad.” (Although our proposed project was not prioritized under the kalahi (CIDSS) fund, still, with the help of AusAID we learned to not only make proposals, to process documents, but we also learned how to construct a stable building which will not be easily affected by disaster.)

The Thematic Environmental Management System is an initiative to mainly address the increasing likelihood of disasters hitting the country as the “new normal”. The challenge among DSWD staff regarding this is to pursue building the attitude of the community to be resilient against disasters and develop sustainable ways that will support the growth of their community through Kalahi-CIDSS.

KALAHI-CIDSS is a community-driven development project that aims to empower communities through their enhanced participation in community projects that reduce poverty. The program has just recently held a press conference last June 18, 2014 for the launching of its scale up to National Community Driven Development Program (NCDDP) which will cover 847 municipalities nationwide. ###

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Kalahi-CIDSS: Opening a new frontier for rural education

Zamboanga Sibugay June 18, 2014 – As other children sharpen their pencils, don their backpacks and head back to school, it pains to think that far too many secondary school aged children, there are still thousands in the region cannot enroll in school. These children are generally the poorest of poor, for whom even a free education comes too steep for a price, may it be attributed to transportation and daily allowance, distance or to the availability and conduciveness of classroom being occupied.

The makeshift classroom that students used to occupy in Baga High School

The makeshift classroom that students used to occupy in Baga High School

Pierced roof, muddy floor and ravaged wall—this is how Nenita N. Gabutan described their makeshift classroom before in Barangay Baga, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. “Pag umuulan, kailangan talaga naming ihinto ang klase at sumilong para hindi mabasa ang mga estudyante. Kasi butas-butas ang bubong. Tapos maputik pa ang sahig, hindi rin kasi simento. ” (We really had to stop the class whenever it rains and look for a place where we can stay so that the students won’t get wet because the roof is ripped. Plus the floor is muddy because it’s not cemented.) she began.

Nenita Gabutan meets her class at the newly built classroom funded DSWD's Kalahi-CIDSS and PAMANA

Nenita Gabutan meets her class at the newly built classroom funded through DSWD’s Kalahi-CIDSS and PAMANA

Nenita is a 39 year old teacher of 3rd and 4th year students in Baga High School. She started teaching in Baga since theestablishment of the said school in year 2010. This is why she can’t forget all the difficulties that their school community had faced before it was still starting with 1 makeshift classroom subdivided into three to cater all their students.

Despite the situation, parents still diligently send their children to Baga High school who seem to have no qualms placing their children under the scorching sun or hard pouring rain—with just a nipa shielding them from the glare and the occasional rainfall.

Lileth Montebon, a graduating student also shared how their studies were affected by their situation in occupying the makeshift classroom, especially when the weather doesn’t cooperate. “Hindi po talaga kame makapag-focus sa klase kasi di namin marinig ang teacher pag masyadong malakas ang ulan. Hindi po talaga kame komportable, pero tinitiis na lang po naming kasi yun lang room ang meron kami.” (We can hardly focus on our lessons because we couldn’t hear our teacher when the rain is pouring hard. We were really not comfortable but we had to put up with it because it’s the only room we had back then.)Lileth narrated while trying to remember how they were before.

Yes, these were all in the past as DSWD’s Kalahi-CIDSS came to Barangay Baga, Naga in 2013 opening the door for development in the community and empowerment among its citizenry.

“Nung nag-assembly, sabi nila kailangan ng volunteer. Wala nang iba sa utak ko noon kundi classroom talaga. So sabi ko magvovolunteer ako. Kahit sinabi ng husband ko na wala raw sahod. Sabi ko naman okay lang basta mabigyan lang tayo ng room.” (During the assembly, they said they needed volunteers. There was nothing else in my mind that time but the classroom. So I told them that I will volunteer. Eventhough my husband told me that I won’t get anything from volunteering, I told him it’s okay with me for the sake of the classroom.

baga 3

The MIBF is a municipal level structure that serves as a mechanism for convening barangay representatives to make important decisions that affect the welfare and interest of the communities.

Inspite of her determination to render service as a volunteer, Nenita was still hesitant about her decision since she thought that volunteers should be articulate and communicative which she doubted she has it in her. “Nanlamig ako nung ako yung pinagsalita nila sa harapan. Nahihiya talaga ako.” (I got really nervous that time when they asked me to talk infront of many people. I was so shy.) Nenita said as she was clenching her hands as a gesture of feeling cold. However, she still pursued volunteering until the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum where Nenita has even more stories to share.

“Iniyakan ko talaga yang MIBF. Dahil ako ang napili nila magsalita para kampanyahin yung project namin, nagdala ako ng mga pictures ng makeshift classroom namin para makita talaga nila ang sitwasyon ng eskwela namin. Nagmakaaawa talaga ako doon kasi iniisip ko yun na lang ang tanging paraan para masolusyonan ang problema.” (I actually cried during MIBF. Since they chose me to speak regarding our proposed project, I really brought the pictures of our makeshift classrooms for them to see the situation of our school. I really pleaded because I think that was the only way to solve the problem.)

While Nenita was convinced enough to volunteer, others in their community were cynical that the project will materialize. “Ay yung mga tao sinasabihan kami ay hindi naman yan totoo na magkaroon ng project. Sabi ko naman itesting na lang natin, pero sa loob-loob ko natatakot narin ako mapahiya sa barangay namin.” (Some people would say that it’s not true, that we are not getting any project, but I told them that there’s nothing wrong if we try. But deep inside, I was really worried that I might embarrass myself.) Nenita added. Aside from this, she also had to sacrifice her job as a teacher to be able to attend to her duties as a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer. Nevertheless, she was still grateful that she got other people who believed in what she wanted to fight for.

“Napapansin ko lagi na siyang nag-aabsent sa klase. Pero nung sinabi naman ng mga kasama nya na nasa kalahi, naintindihan ko. Sinuportahan namin kasi para sa mga bata yan.” (I noticed that she was always absent in her class. But when her co-teachers said that she was in Kalahi, we supported her because we know what she was doing was for the children.) related Romeo K. Villaflores, Baga High School Principal.

In 2013, the door to progress has finally opened for barangay Baga when it was included in the prioritization list of Kalahi-CIDSS-PAMANA first cycle implementation. Nenita still remembered how everyone had taken their part in volunteering. “Lahat talaga ng mga teachers nagbuhat ng mga simento, mga hallow blocks ba.” (All the teachers really helped in carrying hallow-blocks.)

The agony of waiting for the classroom building to be funded was replaced by the excitement while waiting for the project to finish. “Yung mga estudyante laging nagtatanong kung tapos na, o pwede na ba daw sila doon magklase, sabi ko naman sa june, sa sunod na opening, pwede na talaga. Excited talaga sila.” (The students would always ask if we were already done with the project or if they can already use the classroom. Then I’d just assure them that they can already occupy the room in june, the next opening. They were really excited.) said Nenita.

Left: 4th year students comfortably attending their class inside the newly built concrete classroom. Right: The actual 1 unit 2 classrooms of KC-PAMANA

Left: 4th year students comfortably attending their class inside the newly built concrete classroom. Right: The actual 1 unit 2 classrooms of KC-PAMANA

The 1 unit 2 classroom high school building was completed in no time though Kalahi-CIDSS – PAMANA Project funded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP). Now, students and teachers in Baga High school have a more comfortable learning environment.

Baga High School students, faculty and community volunteers happily wave to express their gratitude and appreciation to Kalahi-CIDSS.

Baga High School students, faculty and community volunteers happily wave to express their gratitude and appreciation to Kalahi-CIDSS.

“Masaya po kami kasi may permanenteng classroom na talaga ang mga estudyante na komportable at talagang makakatulong sa kanilang pag-aaral.” (We feel so happy that finally there are already permanent classrooms that students can occupy and will really help them learn better.) Nenita said, as delight widened her eyes.

From 90 students now there are 160 students enrolled in Baga High School occupying the 1 unit 2 concrete classrooms for 3rd and 4th year levels. The faculty sees the increase in the number of enrollees as a good manifestation that the school has improved in delivering quality education through providing conducive facilities thereby opening a new frontier for rural education.

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