Carmen is one of the municipalities in the region which implements the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) . The program, which utilizes the Community-Driven Development approach in its implementation, addresses the needs of the barangay by providing opportunities to the members of the community to be part in the planning, budgeting and implementation of community projects.
Carmen is one of the pilot areas for the new modality, the Livelihood and Enterprise (L&E). With majority of its communities into farming especially the upland barangays, they proposed a food terminal to serve as center for commerce, where they can easily drop their produce, and ensure that these get sold wholesale (those who buy in bulk), and retail (those who buy for consumption purposes).
One of the requirements for the L&E community proposal for the fund allocation to be approved by Kalahi-CIDSS is the availability of land to be used especially for projects with infrastructure/building. This was not a problem for the volunteers in their preparation for the project proposal since the town’s mayor, Hon. Jane V. Plaza, donated her personal lot in Barangay Antao to serve as the venue for the proposed community project.
“It was for the benefit of the people of Carmen, I had to do it,” Mayor Plaza said (referring to her donation of the land utilized for the project).
The community project was officially opened last July 28, 2018. During the inauguration, Mayor Plaze encouraged everyone to make use of the Food Terminal and hopes that it will serve its purpose. “Medyo dako ang kantidad sa project na ito. We hope na magamit ito ng mabuti. As far as the LGU is concerned, we will extend capital grants para sa mga farmers so that they could start their businesses (The budgetary requirements for this project is quite big. We hope that it will be used properly. As far as the LGU is concerned, we will extend capital grants to the farmers so that they will be able to start their businesses),” she said.
Provincial Agriculturist Marco Quico applauded the great success of the municipality of Carmen for having the first ever Food Terminal in Caraga. He also reminded the farmers on the importance of taking care of the said facility and managing their resources well to sustain their businesses. In his message during the grand opening, he thanked DSWD, specifically Kalahi-CIDSS, for looking into the livelihood and enterprise aspect of the community, not just on the provision of funds for infrastructure projects addressing the needs of the community.
For the community volunteers who have worked on the project, from its conceptualization (project proposal preparation), proposal presentation and defense, up until the implementation and completion, it was worth all their hard work and hardships as they are now beginning to feel the impact of their hard-earned project.
Rosalinda Elmanco, one of the community volunteers, said it was never an easy task in completing the community project. “Grabe among giagian para maangkon namo kini nga proyekto. Grabe ka kapoy labi na sa pag-prepare sa project proposal, hantod na sa pag- implement. Pero karon nga naa na gayud siya, nakita na namo nga nahuman na siya, nawala tanan kakapoy ug kami tanan nalipay. Hinaot nga makatabang gayud kini siya sa mga farmers dinhi sa among lungsod (We endured a lot of hardships just so we would have this project, especially during the project proposal preparation, up until the implementation. But now that it is done, it is completed, it feels so great and we are very glad. Hopefully this will really help our poor farmers in our town), she said.
With the joint efforts of the community volunteers, together with the the Department, the LGU of Carmen, and all the other stakeholders of the project, the locality of Carmen, and its neighboring towns now enjoys fresh produce from the farmers with the completion and operation of the Food Terminal. The community will also ensure that the project is taken-cared of, especially with the formation of an Operation and Maintenance Group to ensure that it will be sustainable.