Manila - “When I assumed my term as the Governor in 2007, I asked myself how am I going to provide sub-projects to all the barangays equally. But through Kalahi-CIDSS, we have addressed the problems of some barangays that can hardly get assistance due to its distance from the provincial government,” shared Compostela Valley Provincial Governor Arturo T. Uy during the recent 2nd National Bayani! Ka awarding ceremonies at Hotel H2O.
Eight years past and his province wins one of Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) most prestigious community development awards.
In 2015, National Bayani Ka! Awards was conferred to Maragusan town being the Best MLGU in Participatory Governance and also to Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer Rey Jaboneta also of Maragusan, as Best PWD Volunteer.
Tested with problems on peace and order, natural and man-made disasters, the province of Compostela Valley was able to withstand the challenges and even recognized by DSWD as the Best Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) Implementing Kalahi-CIDSS in the 2nd National Bayani Ka! Awards.
Kalahi-CIDSS or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services is one of the core programs of DSWD that aims to empower communities through enhanced participation in local governance and poverty alleviation projects.
The Bayani Ka! Awards is a Social Marketing intitiative of Kalahi-CIDSS that recognizes grassroots heroes and nurtures a pool of community champions.
Other national awardees were Mayor Ramon Orfanel of Catanauan, Quezon Province (Best Municipal Local Government Unit), Narcissa Paraso of Nueva Ecija (Best Barangay Local Government Unit), and Marcelo Gusanan of Sultan Kudarat (Best Volunteer).
Assessing community needs
With a total of 11 towns, prevailing social problems beset the province because not all barangays have basic facilities such as school buildings, day care centers, and health centers.
“I made an inventory in all 235 barangays in the province; 15-20% did not receive any project from the province. And mostly, these areas are the farthest. Moreover, government funds were spent without considering the real needs of the people,” recounted Governor Uy.
Since the start of Kalahi-CIDSS in the province, the governor has demonstrated his all-out support by visiting and monitoring communities especially during sub-project implementation. Further, the province provided beyond the needed cash and in-kind counterpart.
Governor Uy, whose vigour is known as a leader, challenged his fellow Local Chief Executives, “I obliged my people in the province to take heed of their roles and responsibilities as civil servants.”
He added, Kalahi-CIDSS has proven to be not just one of the most effective poverty reduction programs, but it has accomplished a lot in terms of transforming communities and the people.
To date, a total of 444 community projects were successfully mounted in the province through Kalahi-CIDSS.
“In my term as the Governor of the province, the Kalahi-CIDSS program served as my guide in the implementation of projects in different barangays. I implemented counterpart from the people to imbue the community driven development. The more we involve communities, the more they become empowered,” Governor Uy emphasized.
Compostela Valley is among the PLGUs that have demonstrated innovations in adopting community driven development (CDD) through its implementation of Assistance Towards Unity for Progress thru Empowerment, Accountability, Cooperation, and Efficiency (ATU-PEACE) program, which was patterned from the Kalahi-CIDSS process.
ATU–PEACE was conceptualized in April 2008 to assist local communities in addressing the needs of the constituents by establishing easily accessible and immediately needed projects.
The Asian Development Bank, the funding institution of Kalahi-CIDSS, chose Compostela Valley, along with the Province of Albay, as pilot area for PLGU Engagement as it has supported the CDD strategy since the start of Kalahi-CIDSS in the province.
“Kalahi-CIDSS makes for good politics because the province will submit requirements needed based on the program’s guideline. I highly commended and appreciated its concept because it allows the barangays to prioritize sub-projects through proper consultation and participatory approach in the community,” Governor Uy pointed out.
He added that the program is their springboard of technical expertise, the source of province’s inspiration in terms of touching people’s lives.
To date, a total grant of Php 320,979,000.00 has been accessed to the province for basic infrastructure and community development projects.
“With the province’s constant partnership with DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS and the community, a better quality of life for Comvaleños is not too far ahead,” Governor Uy concluded. (DSWD/Julie Ace Brandon F. Ramos)