Mothers calmly look after their children playing with other students, while waiting for classes to resume in the daycare center at Brgy. Punta, Pilar, Surigao del Norte. This was not the case a year ago. Not when the road outside of the day care center used to be so dangerous.

Jean E. Cordita calls along her students for the resumption of classes. As her students run up the ramp, Jean could not hide her smile seeing the children feeling very safe and happy.

The Sea Water Rise Dilemma

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Jean Cordita spiritedly demonstrates to the participants of the Byaheng Pagbabago – DSWD Caraga Media Tour last December 9, 2015, how the Department’s Supplemental Feeding Program (SFP) is being conducted. The SFP, the Pantawid Pamilya, and Sustainable Livelihood Program are just among the few programs and services of DSWD, together with Kalahi-CIDSS, being enjoyed by the people of Punta, Pilar, Surigao del Norte.

“Sa wala pa natrabaho ang among dalan diha sa gawas, makulbaan mi sa mga hait nga bato ug lubak-lubak nga dalan. Ang mga ginikanan todo bantay sa mga bata kay delikado kayo ang among gawas. Dugang pa diha ang dagat nga moabot diha sa dalan labi na ug high tide (We used to be so nervous of the safety of our students when our road was still in very bad condition. There were a lot of potholes and sharp rocks that posted danger to our kids. Parents were in constant monitoring of their children fearing for the safety of their kids. Add to that the sea water reaching the vicinity outside when the sea tide is high),” Ms. Jean said.

Parents used to complain to the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) about the matter. There have already been several cases where day care center students got injured after slipping or falling down on the rocky path outside their school. But with the meager allocation for road and infrastructure improvement of the BLGU and with several priority projects, parents and residents could only dream of better road conditions along the barangay day care center.

Marvin Noguerraza, village chair, expressed the BLGU’s eagerness to act on the clamor. But fixing the problem would mean spending a large sum of money. The road condition was brought about when sea water reaches the road during high tide.

“Isa gayud nang dalan sa day care center and the neighboring area nga part sa among priority pero lisod trabahuon labi na kay mosulod gayud and tubig gikan sa dagat (the day care center road and the neighboring area is part of the priority of the BLGU for repair. But there is a big problem with the repair since the sea water finds its way to the area),” Chair Noguerraza said.

A New Hope

In 2014, the community lobbied the matter to the Municipal LGU. With the support of the MLGU and Provincial LGU, an allocation to dump gravel in the vicinity where sea water enters or reaches the road was approved. The sea water problem was now resolved, but the road condition was still a problem.

Then, the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) National Community-Driven Development (NCDDP) 1st cycle in 2014 came. Punta is an old implementer of the program, dating back its first engagement to 2006. The community knew the program might be the solution to the problem.

When the program started, the community turned to an old and effective volunteer to lead them. In a barangay assembly, the community unanimously chose Jean as Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairperson.

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“Dako gayud ang kalipay sa katawhan sa Punta sa pagka-kompleto sa among dalan. Dili na siya gubaon, dili na delikado. Ang mga bata pwede na magdula-dula sa gawas sa skwelahan. Isip teacher sa day care, malipayon ko nga safe na kayo akong mga studyante (The people of Punta are very happy with the concreting of our road. It is no longer dangerous and damaged. The kids can now play within the area. As a teacher, I am very happy that my students are now safe).”

“Ako gyud and gipili sa asembliya nga ma-chairman, siguro kay dugay-dugay napud ko volunteer sa Kalahi. Pero ang uban miingon nga ako ang ilang gipili aron masiguro nga ang dalan sa may day care ang mauna ug prioritize nga mapondohan (The assembly chose me as chairman maybe because I have been volunteering for Kalahi-CIDSS for quite some time now. But there were some who said that they chose me to ensure that the road beside the day care center will be prioritized for funding),” Jean said.

Ms. Jean says that the community really wants the road fixed since majority of the people in the area have children going to the day care center. There are also quite a number of households around the area, and add to that, the community has a solar dryer (acquired through Kalahi-CIDSS in 2012) just beside the day care center that they seldom use recently because of the road condition that allows sea water to reach inland.

“Ug kana ang masulbad nga problema, dakong tabang sa katawhan sa barangay labi na sa mga bata ug ilang ginikanan. Maayo nalang kay ang Kalahi-CIDSS nga programa sa goberno naghatag ug power sa amo nga mga common nga tawo magdesisyon para sa among mga problema (By fixing the road around the area, a lot of people would benefit, especially the children and their parents. Good thing Kalahi-CIDSS, though a government program, gives power to the people in solving our own problems),” Jean said.

The community, with the support of the BLGU and the MLGU was able to complete their 175 linear meters road concreting that covers the vicinity around the day care center.

The Resolution

“Dako gayud ang kalipay sa katawhan sa Punta sa pagka-kompleto sa among dalan. Dili na siya gubaon, dili na delikado. Ang mga bata pwede na magdula-dula sa gawas sa skwelahan. Isip teacher sa day care, malipayon ko nga safe na kayo akong mga studyante (The people of Punta are very happy with the concreting of our road. It is no longer dangerous and damaged. The kids can now play within the area. As a teacher, I am very happy that my students are now safe),” Jean said.

Indeed, the community is reaping the benefits of Kalahi-CIDSS. A very important factor to this is the community’s efforts in uniting and dealing with their problems. Through the program, the community now has a voice – a choice on how to solve their problems, and decide on how they ought to solve their problems.

“Mapasalamaton kayo kami sa Kalahi-CIDSS. Kani lang nga area, dako kayo ug tabang ang Kalahi. Kining day care, funded ni sa Kalahi-CIDSS ug AUSAid (DFAT), naa pay sea wall ug solar dryer. Murag barangay Kalahi-CIDSS na ning Punta tungod sa tabang sa Kalahi kanamo (We are very thankful to Kalahi-CIDSS. In this barangay alone, Kalahi-CIDSS has really helped the community. This day care center, it is funded by Kalahi-CIDSS and AUSAid (DFAT), and we also have sea wall and solar dryer from the program. I guess people can say that Brgy. Punta can easily be called Brgy. Kalahi-CIDSS because of the benefits we had with the program),” Chair Noguerraza said.

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Daycare students of Punta, Pilar, Surigao del Norte are benefitting the most of the Kalahi-CIDSS road concreting project worked on by the community. This means safer route for the children to take to and from their daycare center.

Jean is very thankful of the blessings Brgy. Punta has received from Kalahi-CIDSS. She is very happy to be part of a government program that is legitimate of addressing the needs of the people.

“Dako akong kalipay sa presensya sa programa dinhi sa amo. Proud ko nga nahimo kong parte niini, dakong tabang kini kanako kay nagdevelop ni sa akong self-confidence. Sa mga komunidad nga adunay Kalahi-CIDSS, higugma-a ninyo ang programa; trabaho kamo sa kinasing-kasing kay dako kayo ug matabang ni sa inyong komunidad (I am happy and proud that I am part of Kalahi-CIDSS. It has helped both the community and myself. Through Kalahi-CIDSS, I was able to improve my self-confidence. For those who are implementing Kalahi-CIDSS, love the program. Work with all your heart because the program will really help your community),” Jean concluded.###(MARKO DAVEY D. REYES/Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)