Five years ago, the Local Government of Cortes, headed by Municipal Mayor William M. Angos, implemented the Kapit – Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi – CIDSS) program in their municipality with the goal of producing a participative and empowered community. The program was carried out for five cycles beginning from 2013 until 2018 and covered a total of 37 community sub-projects.

Seeing that there was a need for local government units (LGU) to engage actively into development programs offered by National Government Agencies (NGA), Mayor Angos grabbed the opportunity to implement the Kalahi-CIDSS Program in the municipality of Cortes. As a matter of fact, he personally visited the DSWD Caraga Regional Office to submit their manifestation of willingness to adopt the program.

After introducing the Kalahi – CIDSS program to the people, the LGU highly encouraged the community to support the program implementation. Series of activities such as site visits, meetings, and assemblies were conducted to ensure that the community particularly the volunteers were properly guided and assisted. With the municipal mayor and the LGU’s constant motivation, attendance and participation rate in community activities rocketed from below 80% to 90%.

Mrs. Madelyn Morante, community volunteer from Barangay Burgos, shared that during the implementation process, the municipal mayor would personally ask the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) and other community volunteers for updates about the project. He would then commend them for the progresses they have made.

CAPACITY BUILDING. Mayor William M. Angos and the officials of the Municipality of Cortes participate in the gallery walk during the 2016 Municipal Talakayan, an activity promoting knowledge generation, sharing, and collaborative self-assessment among stakeholders.

Clearly, the LGU’s efforts were strongly felt by the community. But the most significant innovation and contribution of the LGU was the allocation of fund for partially-funded Kalahi – CIDSS projects.

Despite their meager resources, LGU Cortes made it a point to utilize 20% of their Local Development Fund (LDF) for the advancement of the community by prioritizing projects identified by the community through the Participation Situational Analysis (PSA). Mayor Angos himself discussed this action with the Commission on Audit (COA) to be certain that no rules and guidelines were defied.

After two cycles of the Kalahi-CIDSS, the LGU began funding community-identified projects which needed an additional budget such as the Construction of 66.00 LN.M. Flood Control Sub-Project in Barangay Balibadon (Php 447,454.29), Supply with Installation of 40.00 Units Solar in Barangay Madrelino (Php 289,340.00), and Construction of 746.00 LN.M. Drainage Canal in Barangay Poblacion (Php 831,160.00). The LGU had also fully-funded one sub-project project in Barangay Burgos which was the Improvement of 150.00 LN.M. Farm to Market Road with costed Php 774,925.00.

“Ug nalipay mi og dako kay pag commit ni Mayor ato na time na mohatag siya ug funding sa amo, wala mi nag expect nga apil pa mi ana na sub-project (We were very happy when the Mayor committed that he will allocate us a funding. We did not expect that we will be included in that sub-project),” Madelyn narrated.

TOWARDS A TRANSFORMED AND EMPOWERED SOCIETY. The officials of the Municipality of Cortes, Kalahi-CIDSS team, and other stakeholders pose for a photo as they concluded the Municipal Talakayan held in 2016.

In total, the LGU shouldered an amount of Php 3,215,476.29 for their Local Counterpart Contribution (LCC).

With the LGU’s round-the-clock reminder and unwavering motivation, the community volunteers were able to finish the Farm to Market Road in Barangay Burgos in a month’s time – from March 27, 2018 until April 2018.

Since the LGU Cortes welcomed and accepted the Kalahi-CIDSS, there has been a lot of improvement within the community and the people. People have become more perceptive, responsive, and involved. They have learned to take initiatives and to make necessary actions in order to make their municipality a harmonious and progressive place to live in.

Municipal Mayor William M. Angos delivers his message during the 2018 Kalahi-CIDSS Expanded Program Management Team Meeting and Mid-Year Program Review Evaluation Workshop held at Grand Palace Restaurant and Hotel.

Consequently, the Municipality of Cortes was recognized by DSWD Caraga as one of the best performing LGU in the region during the 2018 Kalahi – CIDSS Expanded Program Management Team Meeting and Mid-Year Program Review Evaluation Workshop. This only proves that the LGU has done their part in enabling the people and the community.

At present, the local government officials of Cortes have already been discussing of their possible replication of the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach of the Kalahi-CIDSS. “Because to us, ang pinakapunto sa Kalahi is human development. Mao gani nay taas-taas na process na among i-undertake, so that maka-realize ang tao na ingon ani jud diay when it comes to working for progress in the government (Because to us, the main point of Kalahi is human development. There is a long process that we need to undertake so that the people will realize that this is what it’s like when it comes to working for progress in the government),” Mayor Angos shared.

BEST PERFORMING LGU. The efforts of the local government unit of Cortes paid off as they were awarded by the DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS Caraga for their outstanding performance in empowering their community.

The Municipality of Cortes continues to show their relentless support by initiating more innovations and contributions to inspire the community to take part in the journey towards progress and growth. As Municipal Mayor William Angos would like to say, “Development is a participative process. If we want development, we should it this way. We should do it the ‘Kalahi’ way.”###(CLEA MARIEL C. MALUNHAO/Social Marketing Section/DSWD Field Office Caraga)

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