The participants from DSWD Field Office Caraga take a pose with DSWD Undersecretary Ma. Lourdes T. Jarabe (OIC – DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) during the 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards.

Cebu City – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) successfully conducted its 2nd National Volunteers Congress and 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards at the Golden Peak Hotel, Cebu City last October 2-5, 2018. The activity was attended by Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers, partner-stakeholders and National/Regional employees from all over the country.

The activity aims to unify different stakeholders of the program and provide a venue for sharing and learning to benefit the program’s implementation. Community volunteers and identified supportive Local Chief Executives, Sanguniang Bayan Members, Barangay Captains/Officials were on hand for the three-day activity which opened opportunities for them to learn from other stakeholders.

The participants were able to have a glimpse of the importance of the Kalahi-CIDSS implementation during the learning visit on the second day of the congress. Participants visited best implementing areas of Field Office VII – the municipalities of Pinamungajan, Argao, Dalaguete, and Moalboal.

Vicente Gausin shares his experience with the program. His group, the Catholic Youth Organization of Pinana-an, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte is the Regional winner for Welfare of the Youth Category. He was also nominated by his peers to represent the volunteers of FO Caraga to the National volunteer group they managed to create during the congress.

During the learning visit, community volunteers were able to interact with the volunteers of the aforementioned municipalities, while the Municipal/Barangay Local Government Unit delegates were able to share their thoughts and strategies with the LGUs of the host municipalities. The participants showed their appreciation of the field visit stating that it was heartwarming for them to meet their fellow Kalahi-CIDSS community Volunteers.

Vicente Gausin, one of participants from Field Office Caraga (Bayani Ka! Awards – Youth Category Representative) was more than glad to meet his fellow volunteers. “Napakaganda po ng feeling na makita mo at marinig mo ang mga salaysay ng mga kapwa volunteers na pinagdaanan din kung ano ang aming napagdaanan bilang volunteer. Feeling ko at home ako kahit na nasa iba akong lugar (It was an amazing feeling have met and heard the stories of my fellow community volunteers. It was great to hear their stories – that we do share the same experiences being volunteers. I felt comfortable and at home, even if I was in another place),” he said.

Team Caraga showing off their gifts, a wrist watch, which has a statement encouraging all to continue supporting the Kalahi-CIDSS Program.

During the third day of the activity, participants were able to take part in a plenary with volunteers, LGUs, Kalahi-CIDSS workers, each assigned in a peer group. They were able to discuss further their learnings from the field visit and share good practices to enhance their skills and knowledge in improving their engagement with the program, and their communities in particular. A particular highlight during the plenary was the suggestion of the volunteers group to organize themselves and come up with an established organization that would be composed of Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers all over the country.

The plenary session was then capped off with the taking of oath by the participants to continue their gains with the program by continuing to be active citizens. They were all surprised to receive a gift from the organizers – a symbolic wrist watch with the Kalahi-CIDSS logo and the phrase “MagKALAHI Tayo Pilipinas,” an invitation to live the principles of the program.

Carmen, Surigao del Sur Represent – Hon. Jane V. Plaza (Left: Municipal Mayor – Carmen, Surigao del Sur) was showed her all-out-support for the program by being one of the participants for Field Office Caraga during the congress. Mayor Plaza is one of the CDD champions of the region for having been one of the most supportive LCEs for the program. She is seen here posing withDomingo Roluna of the Hinapoyan Farmers’ Cooperative (HFC), Regional winner for the Bayani Ka! Awards Environmental Protection Category.

The activity closed with the festive 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards. The venue had a vibrant atmosphere as participants wore their traditional costumes and colorful jovial dresses. During the awarding ceremony, Regional winners were each acknowledged in front of the body for having bested other community volunteer groups from their respective Regions.

DSWD Caraga was able to identify nine (9) community volunteer groups for the 9 categories of the annual honors, all of which were awarded during the National Awards Ceremony. Each volunteer group received a plaque of recognition and a development incentive of two thousand pesos (Php 2,000) which they may use to strengthen and improve their community volunteer groups.

The success of the 2nd National CV Congress and 4th National Bayani Ka! Awards is a true testament of the power of convergence among different stakeholders with a common goal – to improve and empower their communities. Even amidst the diversities among the participants representing their different cultures, communities, there is always a common ground, and this is the selfless commitment to better themselves and their society.

A Showcase of Different Cultures: Datu Renato Dave R. Casil (rightmost) of the Cagwait Manobo Indegenous Cultural Community (CAMICC), INC. Cagwait, SDS share a special photo opportunity with participants from the different IP Tribes of the Cordillera during the festive Bayani Ka! Awards. CAMICC, INC is the Regional winner for the Indigenous Peoples’ Welfare Category.