Archive | April 22nd, 2014

THREATENED NO MORE: A story of a community’s resiliency against disaster

With the effects of climate change intensifying day by day, the challenge Filipino families’ face nowadays is how to be resilient amidst uncertain times. There is no way anyone could predict what heavy rains and strong tropical storms may bring; when landslides and flooding would hit ones neighborhood. The best way to face threats brought about by these phenomenon are by being informed with the necessary facts on Disaster Risk Reduction Management.

Since no one has control over the elements of nature, individuals and communities are better off preparing for the worst case scenarios. Communities must capitalize on whatever is available and workable; what is doable, that even simple folks in the community may be able to do to lower the effects of calamity.

Experience Dictates Need

Sarah Bihag, a resident of Brgy. Rupagan, Bacolod, Lanao del Norte, still remembers how Typhoon Sendong damaged homes and destroyed livelihood in their barangay. The small creek right around their homes was flooded in just a few hours of rain, leveling anything that is on its path.

“It is just a small creek but since Typhoon Sendong happened, it easily overflows. Storms right now are very different; very strong. Because of that, we have sleepless nights when there is bad weather because we fear that flooding will again hit our houses, even putting our families in danger,” Sarah shares.

Since Sendong happened, low pressure rainstorms and usual thunder storms would bring flooding in their barangay, even affecting neighboring communities. Residents now wanted to do something about it, but there was not enough convincing that would encourage everyone to do something about it.

Kalahi-CIDDS in Bacolod

Bacolod has been one of the municipalities in Northern Mindanao qualified for the Community-Driven Development Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirpan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS). Communities have previously availed of 5 cycles of the Kalahi-CIDSS Program (3 Cycles under the Kalahi-CIDSS and 2 Cycles under the Makamasang Tugon), blessing them with various sub-projects that has proven to be effective in answering to pressing issues of poverty in their communities.

Barangay Councilor Yvonne C. Lacia recalls how two (2) sub-projects were successfully implemented in their barangays because of Kalahi-CIDSS. Barangay Rupagan was prioritized during the 3rd Cycle for KC:KKB implementing a Road Gravelling sub-project for their barangay access road and a Barangay Health Station for their KC:Makamasang Tugon 1st Cycle; 2 sub-projects that have since been favorable to the community.

Councilor Yvonne recalls her ordeals and lessons as part of the Kalahi-CIDSS Project. She even credits her being the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) Chairperson as one of the reasons people trusted in her capacity to lead, ensuring her of a spot in the Barangay Council.

Another Cycle for a Good Performer

Life went on for the people of Bacolod post Kalahi-CIDSS and residents in the different communities in Bacolod were more than thankful for the sub-projects they received in the 5 cycles of Kalahi-CIDSS in their municipality.

But there was something brewing. During the second half of 2013, Bacolod was identified to pilot the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Modality for Kalahi-CIDSS. With high regard from the DSWD for being a good performer in their previous cycles, Bacolod was highly endorsed for the said pilot implementation.

With the thrusts of the Department in promoting resilience against the tests of climate change, Kalahi-CIDSS promotes Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) through Community-Driven Development. Communities are oriented about DRRM and apply it in proposing and implementing community sub-projects. Through this, communities living in disaster-prone areas will be able to be prepared for the trials of nature.

The communities in Bacolod are already well versed with the Kalahi-CIDSS implementation, so the pilot implementation was smooth-sailing. Communities were able to finish their sub-projects in the allotted time. Now, communities are ready to face the uncertain. They are already capable of facing calamities with little reluctance.

“Three strong downpours have already happened since we have completed the canal. Water directly went straight to the sea, and we no longer had flooding in our house. Now we can sleep peacefully at night even if there is a storm, thanks to Kalahi-CIDSS,” Sarah shared.

“I am just proud that we CAN make a difference in our community by just sharing our time to community works,” she added.

The Disaster Risk Reduction Management Modality of Kalahi-CIDSS has aided communities in Bacolod prepare for the worst trials nature may bring. With so many lives and properties lost during unpredictable weather disturbances the country is facing nowadays, it is comforting to be prepared of the worst that could happen.

Written by Marko Davey D. Reyes, DSWD

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From Rubbish to Works of Art

The Filipino creativity is among the best there is. Through time, Filipinos have captured the attention of the world for their limitless imaginations and originality. The Filipino has been admired in the field of the arts and crafts for coming up with extraordinary works, using simple yet interesting mediums/materials.

Imagine having to come up with great pieces of art using trash; materials one would consider already useless. In a world where people waste more than what is required for sustenance, having to come up with ways to dispose them is quite difficult, especially disposing waste properly.

But how about using trash and turning it to something useful? It would be great not just for the people who throw away the waste, but also for Mother Nature. This was what Mrs. Tomasa Baptista Galbinez has come to perfect.

Mrs. Tomasa Baptista Galbinez or Nana, as what she is fondly called in their community, is a retired teacher, and a community volunteer for the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS Project) in Poblacion, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte. At 83, she is among the oldest community volunteers for Kalahi-CIDSS. She has been a volunteer for Kalahi-CIDDS for 3 years, but not even once has age been a problem for her even if being a volunteer requires ones presence in the field; eating up time and energy.

Nana has found passion in volunteering. She said that it was in volunteering that she has found her purpose since she believes that one’s existence is given meaning by what one does. It was also in Kalahi-CIDSS that she got to do another thing that she was very passionate about, and this was being artistic.

“When we were doing our Drainage Canal sub-project for cycle 2, I noticed we were using up a lot of cement. Since I was monitoring the project daily, I had some ideas on how to minimize the trash we had in the area”, Nana said.

There were between 40-70 sacks used per day, and what others would see as garbage, she saw something else. She noticed that the yarn used in sewing the cement sacks close were similar to the twine she used in knitting, something she loves doing. What she did was collect all the sacks used. She then collected all the yarn from the sacks and kept them until they were enough for a piece of knitted masterpiece.

Soon enough, she was able to collect enough, and right after she finished her job on the field volunteering, she would work on her masterpieces at home. During the 2nd cycle of implementation alone, she was able to make four (4) knitted table covers and three (3) scarfs made out of intricate designs.

During the 3rd cycle implementation, she was able to do more, even Kapatagan municipal mayor, Atty. Benjie Y. Baguio was ordering table covers from her, because he found the designs unique.

“I was doing it as my hobby, and never did I ever imagined people to buy my work, and what was amazing was no less than Mayor Baguio bought some of my work”, Nana shared happily.

But she did not stop there. She noticed that the inner covering of the cement sacks was made of material similar to that used in making brown envelopes but were sturdier. She made use of the material, making envelopes out of them, using it in filing Kalahi-CIDSS documents. She even shared the envelops to other barangays implementing the project.

Other volunteers in their community were amazed of how Nana was able to do all those things at her age. They were inspired of how resourceful she was. “I am doing all of these because I believe our community will benefit from Kalahi. I can do what I love with Kalahi, and I get materials from the garbage in the project”, Nana jokingly shares.

Indeed Nana was able to do things she definitely loves while volunteering for Kalahi-CIDSS. It is amazing how an old lady would be able to stay under the heat of the sun all day, monitoring progress of their sub-project, and right after that still has the energy to do what she does best; knit. Her contribution to Kalahi-CIDSS is priceless.

Nana has ensured that sub-project implementation was kept environmental friendly by limiting waste materials in the area. But above all, she made the most of her significance in the project by simply being an inspiration to everyone. Just like her masterpieces, she leaves people in awe of how well she has lived her life; in service.

Written by Marko Davey D. Reyes, DSWD

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