Leyte Samar Daily Express

CABUCGAYAN, Biliran – Baton-whirling minorettes led the band that played loud but beautiful music in welcoming the guests who arrived on board a car of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) last March 11, 2009.

The Local Government Unit of Cabucgayan led by Mayor Arnelito Garing prepared Cabucgayan Band for the visit of Undersecretary Luwalhati Pablo accompanied by Regional Director Leticia Corillo, KALAHI-CIDSS Regional Project Manager Celeste Madlos, Community Processor Specialist Novelita Villarin, Regional Information Officer Vina Aquino and Social Marketing Officer Juvy Tabontabon.

The group came to inspect some of the sub-projects funded by KALAHI-CIDSS grant. The visit also provided the villagers an opportunity to share with the visitors their experiences as partners in project implementation, including the difficulties encountered and how the project uplifted their lives.

With gratitude, Mayor Garing showed the guests a tarpaulin with a photo gallery of 23 sub-projects imple-mented in the municipality for the past two years, which showed the remarkable improvement in the locality brought about by the KALAHI-CIDDS program.

In 2006, some 13 barangays were identified as priority areas for the KALAHI-CIDSS program. All these barangays were able to access fund from the program, with the first cycle of implementation completed last December 2007. The sub-projects consisted of two seawalls, seven road constructions and concreting, two drainage systems, one health station and one water system.

The second cycle of Community Empowerment Cycle Activity (CEAC) started in November 2007, from the revisiting of the Participatory Situational Analysis results of the community up to the Participatory Development Planning Resource allocation (PDPRA). Prioritized were 10 barangays with sub-project implementation that started in July 2008 and completed last December 31, 2008. The 10 completed sub-projects were two seawalls, a Day Care Center, a Guard Rail, two Lined Ditch Canals, a Drainage System and two Health Stations.

After the brief welcome program in the town proper, the group proceeded to visit the first barangay. With a police patrol leading the way, the group traversed a good road until it reached the steep and zigzag rural road leading to Barangay Caanibongan. The guests were impressed with the yellow Guard Rails and the widened pavement that helped make travel to the mountain village easy and safe.

The village people welcomed the group in Barangay Caanibongan. A short informal meeting with the villagers gave USEC Pablo and companies some information on how the sub-projects improved the lives of the community folks.

Eulalia Corpin, a kagawad of Barangay Caanibongan, said that the sub-projects did not only allay their fear of traveling down the mountain but have also made easy the transport their farm produce to the market. The cost of transporting goods to the town proper is also now much cheaper.

Barangay Casiawan, where Road Improvement and Lined Ditch Canal sub-projects were completed, was the next destination. In a short meeting in the village, the barangay folks gave an assurance for the proper operation and upkeep of the two sub-projects as their sustainability is now the barangay’s responsibility.

The team also made a stopover at Barangay Mangonbangon where the volunteers have expressed their gratitude for the blessings they received from KALAHI-CIDSS. They received two sub-projects that helped improves their lives — Barangay Road Construction and Lined Ditch Canal. The sub-projects made travel to their community now convenient with flooding of the road already a thing of the past. The villagers also explained to the KALAHI-CIDSS officers that the Barangay Leaders and the community would properly maintain the sub-projects to ensure sustainability.

After Mangonbangon, the team moved on to Barangay Salawad where health workers and the villagers welcomed the guests and provided them with some information about the sub-project. USEC Pablo was impressed of the newly- constructed health center in Barangay Salawad. She also appreciated how the health workers are using and maintaining the sub-project that serve the poor in the community. The community also proposed a drainage system sub- project during the first cycle of KALAHI-CIDSS implementation in the barangay. Although a bit tired and weary from the travel, USEC Pablo and her group are enthusiastic as they moved on to Barangay Talibong. Before arriving at the village proper, the team first passed the concrete bridge with guard rails along the way. It was learned that the severely damaged old bridge had become a threat to the limbs and life of the villagers. With the completion of the KALAHI-CIDSS sub-project, travel to the village is now convenient and much safer.

Residents of Barangay Talibong also showed to the group their new health center. USEC Pablo was impressed of the sturdy and spacious building even though the medical equipment was not yet in place because the barangay is still in the process of purchasing the equipment. She instructed the health workers to use the building and facilities properly and to maintain it regularly to extend its services to the community.

Then the group proceeded to Barangay Bunga, the last village in the itinerary. During the first cycle, Barangay Bunga proposed the Barangay Road Concreting to sitio Kapaya. The road was then badly damaged and travel along the route was hard because it becomes slippery whenever it rains. Both the villagers and the habal-habal drivers were then complaining of the worsening road condition. But things changed for the better when the KALAHI-CIDSS sub-project was completed – travel became convenient and the fare had drastically lowered.

On the second cycle, Barangay Bunga proposed a Day Care Center because their previous center was not only made of light materials and already dilapidated but was also always overcrowded with children. The old center was not conducive to learning, said Barangay Captain Carlos Garcia.

During their visit, USEC Pablo opined that the new center also needs more facilities and learning materials that will promote good education among the children. MSWDO Cordeta assured that she will do her best to make the center comfortable and conducive to learning.

Other barangays that were recipients of KALAHI-CIDSS sub-projects were Langgao, where Drainage system and Health center sub-projects were implemented; Pawikan, which got a seawall during the first cycle; Baso that got a Barangay Road on the first cycle and a Seawall on the second cycle; Libertad Road with concreting on first cycle and seawall on the second cycle; Esperanza that received a Drainage system on the first cycle only; Looc, which became a recipient of a water system level II; and Balaquid that got a seawall on the first cycle.

Finally, development has arrived in the poor villages of Cabucgayan, which also a depressed town with only a small share of the Internal Revenue Allotment. The implementation of KALAHI-CIDSS sub-projects has brought joy and pride not only to the village-beneficiaries but also to the provincial and municipal governments that have given their share to alleviate the plight of the poverty-stricken communities. (JCT)

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