Located in the far-flung part of Tagbina, Surigao del Sur lies the Barangay of Carpenito. A community home of more than 1,306 (PSA, 2015) residents. The Barangay is headed by the 28-year-old Barangay Chairperson Rose Niña Juan, the third generation from their family to be elected to the seat. Barangay Carpenito lies along the side of Hinatuan river, which is very susceptible to rising of water during heavy rains and also prone to flash floods.
When Typhoon Pablo and Sendong hit the Barangay of Carpenito, all of the livestock along with the crops of the community, in which they rely on, were washed out completely. There were also instances that floods isolated the Barangay from the other parts of the municipality. Back then they still had minimal knowledge on disaster preparedness.
After having experienced a lot of loss due to heavy flooding, the Barangay is now stirring to promote resiliency through livelihood and mitigation. And because Barangay Carpenito was identified as one of the most vulnerable communities in terms of heavy flooding, a lot of organizations, such as Kasilak Development Foundation, helped them in educating residents in the importance of disaster mitigation.
CCAM or Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation is also one of these programs that helped a lot in making their community prepared. The program trains the community on mitigation activities especially on managing the river beds through partnerships with other associations and organizations in order to strengthen their five-year mitigation plan in the community.
One of the outcomes of these partnerships is the construction of a concrete bridge which will resolve the problem of the over flowing of the water which causes the isolation of the residents when there is heavy flooding. Because of this recurring problem, they have developed a plan which includes the tree planting of Mosisi trees along the riverside of Hinatuan River which will eventually resolve the problem in the future. The program also educated them with the significance of communal gardening, which could be a great way for them to produce their own food. Food scarcity during disasters is a major problem of the community.
“Before CCAM came in our Barangay, the residents do not care about the environment. They cut trees along the riverside but now they have been educated on the effects of their actions. And we decided to strengthen the advocacy and implementation of disaster response and preparedness through ordinances that prohibits the cutting of trees along the riverside and even in other parts of the Barangay. There are also ordinances that requires the youth and Barangay officials to monitor the trees’ growth and forbids Carabaos to wallow along the riverbank,” Barangay Chair Rose Niña Juan share on the improvements since the CCAM implementation.
Most of the beneficiaries of the program were women who rely on their husband’s income. These women had the opportunity to earn money and help them boost their confidence and self-value through women economic empowerment.
Aside from the knowledge that the program had imparted to the residents, they have been motivated to continue practicing disaster preparedness and mitigation even with and without the monitoring of the partners. They are now advocates in the preservation of their environment for the future generations. They now encourage their community to support tree growing instead of just tree planting. It has also been a part of their tourism plan to preserve their asset, the Hinatuan River, and everything that surrounds it.
Barangay Carpenito is maybe just a small town in Surigao del Sur, but it is a community which has made a huge step in reducing the effects of climate change by making themselves disaster resilient through proper mitigation techniques.