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Gubatnon villagers foster peace

A community faces different threats to peace and security and a village in Gubat, Sorsogon faces the same ordeal.

In Pinontingan, a coastal village home to 1,342 residents, crime is rampant.

Most of its 335 households are storeowners, laborers and fishermen.

Pinontingan has two big schools namely, Bicol University Gubat Campus (BUGC) and Gubat North Central School (GNCS).

The Christ the King park and Gubat Saint Anthony Parish Church are both located in this part of the town.

Its proximity to the town welcomes different people and unknown visitors making it more difficult to secure the area.

The barangay council recorded 46 cases related to crime in 2012 and 2013 where physical injury and theft is very common.

“Base sa record, halangkaw ang karalitan (Based on the record, [the cases of] theft is high),” Brgy. Kgd. Nicanor Ermino, Peace and Order Committee chairman, said.

His two roosters worth of Php3,000.00 were respectively stolen in 2011 and 2012 by minors allegedly coming from another community.

Liberata Esquijo, another resident, claimed that her child’s six-month old bike was also stolen in 2012.

The barangay council admitted that their eight barangay tanods or the barangay police officers, who go on alternating schedules for duty, only reports from eight in the evening until midnight.

The daily honorarium of Php27.00 is a meager amount commensurate to their functions to keep peace and order in the community.

However, the construction of 12 units of street lighting this year and the installation of four units of closed-circuit television (CCTV) last year controlled criminal activities in Pinontingan.

Streetlights were evenly distributed in the darkest spots of its four puroks while the CCTV was placed in the most critical areas of the village namely, BUGC, GNCS, the streets of Burgos and Rizal which serves as the entry and exit to and from Pinontingan.

According to Brgy Capt. Ramon Farenas, the CCTV serves as the lookout for Pinontingan especially in the dead of the night.

“Nakadanon sa peace and order (It contributed to peace and order),” Carlos Estrellado, a community volunteer who helped in the construction of the abovementioned projects, said.

“Nakuha mi na ang gusto mi,” he added.

With the participation of the people in the identification of development interventions that will address their priorities, Estrellado was grateful of these new projects.

Similarly, Farenas appreciated the solar-powered streetlights because it illuminates the community even during brownouts.

Support from the barangay council and its residents
The barangay council of Pinontingan allotted Php5,000.00 for the operation and maintenance of the CCTV.

The council also provided a counterpart of Php90,000.00 out of the Php390,000.00 total project cost for the CCTV. Same amount of counterpart was also poured in by the barangay to complete the construction of the streetlights.

“I support the project for as long as my constituents will benefit from it,” Farenas added.

Through these projects, there was an increase in people’s participation in community activities and they are now helping.

“Naging cooperative na ang mga tao ta naimod na ninda ang mga benepisyo na makukua (The people became cooperative because they can see the benefits from the projects,” Estrellado added.

In addition, two of the members of the barangay council are assigned to check and monitor the recorded footages from the CCTV to check of any violence-related activities.

New learnings
The community volunteers are members of the Barangay Subproject Management Committee (BSPMC) elected through the barangay assembly to lead and manage the community projects to address the needs of the people.

The CCTV and streetlights were one of the development projects of Kalahi-CIDSS under Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) which ensures that peace is maintained in the community through greater community participation.

Marites Real, another community volunteer in Pinontingan, said that she will never forget the new learnings she reaped as a volunteer.

She became the Procurement Team member in the construction of their community projects.

Her main function was to facilitate the canvas of the materials and equipment needed for the CCTV and streetlights and serve the purchase order to the lowest responsive bidder.

Apart from that, she was delegated to take the minutes of their meeting to record all the agreements during the procurement of the projects.

Real was challenged by this new task assigned to her because she has no background in doing so. She was left with the choice to forcibly learn the skills of writing the document that will be part of the project’s completion.

Even though she disliked writing, she realized that she can do it for the benefit of their community.

“Dati di ako maaram pag minutes, pero at least niyan may idea na ako (I have no idea in [writing] minutes [of the meeting] but now at least I have an idea),” she explained.

She was able to improve her skills along with the other volunteers through the training in minutes writing which was conducted through Kalahi-CIDSS.

She kept the training materials for her future reference and guide that became handy during the actual application.

“Daghanon ang mga naaraman ko sa mga trainings and seminars bilang volunteer (I learned a lot from trainings and seminars as a volunteer),” she said.

Moreover, she attested that the residents like her are truly involved in all the processes for their community projects.

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