Many times she thought of quitting…but she didn’t.
At present, Bae Teresita Pinao, 62, a member of Mamanwa tribe, is the senior citizen president in Barangay Maraiging, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, and the same time a barangay health worker for the indigenous peoples. The wife of tribal leader Datu Virgilio Pinao, a mother to eight children, and a grandmother to dozens of grandchildren, Bae Teresita is one busy Mamanwa woman.
Bae Teresita was also a community volunteer for Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), which she said has a huge impact to her life.
But before she was filled with responsibilities, she was a very timid and shy woman.
Fifth in the brood of 13, Bae Teresita was born in said mountain barangay to farmer parents. Aside from tending the field, her parents weaved baskets and mats just to make ends meet for their children. Due to their circumstances, she only finished Grade 5.
Though she didn’t have a formal education, it didn’t stopped her from being participative in the activities of their community, given that she is also the better-half of the tribal leader.
Eventually, she was elected as kagawad (councilor) in their barangay. She finished her term in 2010. But what really made an impact to her was when Community-Driven Development (CDD) Approach was introduced to her through a barangay assembly.
“Diha sa meeting, gipasabot nila kabahin sa mga proseso ug project sa Kalahi…kun modawat ba mi o dli modawat. So nagkahiusa mn ang mga IP dri sa Maraiging nga modawat, mao to nga nakasulod ang Kalahi dinhi (During meetings, we were oriented on the processes and projects of Kalahi and asked if we will accept it or not. The IPs agreed to accept Kalahi in of Maraiging),” Bae Teresita recalled.
In Caraga Region, DSWD piloted Kalahi-CIDSS program in Jabonga town in 2003. Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the poverty alleviation programs of the government being implemented by DSWD. Employing CDD as a strategy, Kalahi-CIDSS trains and engages communities together with their local governments (barangay and municipal) to choose, design, and implement development projects to address their most pressing needs.
“First nga na implement sa Kalahi dinhi sa barangay kining kalsada, niadtong tuig 2003 or 2004. Sunod kining daycare center, tapos kadtong duha ka classrooms sa elementary, dayon kining health center (First project that was implemented in Maraiging is the road construction, way back in 2003 or 2004. Next is the day care center, then the two elementary school classrooms and the health center,” Bae Teresita said.
NEVER GIVING UP
However, she was well aware of the challenges ahead, thus she was very hesitant to get involved with the program.
“”Kung naa kay katungdanan gahinan jud na nimog oras ug panahon. Sa sugod, dili jud ko. Pero para man pud sa tanan, mao akong gidawat ang katungdanan isip community volunteer (If you have a responsibility, you should set aside time. At the start, I really refused. But for the benefit of everyone, I accepted such responsibility to become a community volunteer,” she said.
Due to disappointments and exhaustions, she said she thought of giving up as community volunteer many times.
“Usahay aboton ko sa kakapoy, grabe namong paningkamot apan wala na-apil among proposed project. ang uban nag-ingun na dli na mo-apil. ako pud adto naka-decide nga dli na lang cguro ta ani kay mao ra mn gihapon kya murag lisud mn ta maka-apil apan ang kadaghanan akong gilantaw,”
THE FRUITS OF CDD
CDD has not only made a huge impact to Bae Teresita but also to her fellow IPs, saying the Mamanwas now are active in participating any activities in the barangay.
“Kabalo na sila mag apil-apil sa mga kalihukan diri sa barangay. Sa una, bisan asembliya lng sa barangay, di gyud mag apil-apil ang mga IP (The IPs now participate in any barangay activities, unlike before, when IPs don’t even bother to attend barangay meetings), she said.
She also shared that it was due to Kalahi-CIDSS seminars and trainings that she improved as a person.
“Sa una, mauwawon man jud ko mo-atubang sa mga tao. Akong nakat-unan sa Kalahi nga dili na ko dapat mauwaw. Kung unsa naa sa akong huna-huna nga angayan isulti o ipangutana, ako gyud isulti (I was a very timid person before; but what I learned from Kalahi-CIDSS is that I should never be shy or ashamed and that I should always express whatever I would like to say or ask).
Sa una, ignorante gyud ang mga IP. Apan ignorante ang tao kung dili mag apil-apil sa mga kalihukan. Bisan wala kay grado, basta mo-apil ka sa mga kalihukan o meeting sa inyong barangay, ma-edukar imong kaugalingon og makakat-on ka sa mga pamaagi, mga proseso, ug mga bagong pamalaod (The IPs are very ignorant before. However, a person will only be ignorant if he/she doesn’t want to get involved in the barangay. Even if you have no formal education, you can still educate yourself by participating in activities and meetings in the barangay…you will eventually learn the ways, processes, and new laws,” Bae Teresita said. ”
PASSING THE SEED
Bae Teresita said she imparted and taught her family the value and importance of CDD, saying that she also asked her children to pass down these values and learnings to the next generation.
“Apil akong pamilya akong gitudluan unsa pamaagi sa CDD. Ako man sila ingun nga pagtuon mo ani akong gamay nga nakat-unan kay para mn pud ni sa inyo kaugmaon nga matudlo pud ninyo sa inyong mga anak (I teach my family the principles of CDD. I told them to learn from what I’ve learned so that they will also impart these things to their children),” she said.
Though Kalahi-CIDSS-NCDDP is no longer implemented in Jabonga, Bae Teresita said that like Maraiging, many barangays still practice the CDD principles in their governance.
“Buot namo gihapon kining ipadayon nga mga practices. Motambong gihapon mi’g mga asembliya og mobulontaryo gihapon kay mo-partcipate na mn ang mga IP karun (We intend to continue these practices. We will still attend barangay assemblies and still volunteer for the community, since IPs now know how to participate),” the Mamanwa elder said.