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Overcoming near-death experience through Bayanihan

Erlinda Buena, 54, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee chairman explains her roles and responsibilities in the implementing the cable bridge sub-project to Brgy. Capt. Jose Olos during the Stakeholder – Community Volunteer exchange last June 28, 2018 at Brgy. San Vicente, Ocampo, Camarines Sur. /Photo by: Arjay Malto

Ocampo, Camarines Sur – “Naranasan ko na tumawid ng ilog na hanggang leeg ang tubig dahil sa kailangan ko bumili ng gamot para sa asawa kong mayroong sakit (I have experienced crossing the river with flood rising to neck level because I have to buy medicine for my sick husband),” Leony Fraginal, 63, community volunteer on Monitoring and Inspection recounted.

Surrounding the vast rice fields, you will see the ongoing construction of cable bridge. Unflagging construction workers carry heavy sacks of sands to transfer it to the other side of the terrain, where community members live called Sitio Pinacuan, a zone of Brgy. San Vicente.

Just to transport those bags of aggregates, the workers must trek the slope with a height of three-story building. Despite exhaustion, you will notice the undying vigor to finish the tasks since it is a community project led by residents.

Before, residents must cross a river just to reach Ocampo town proper and the trip becomes more difficult during the rainy season as the water level rises.

The residents would often use a raft and rope to help them cross the river. It isn’t enough to solve their problem because the raft can only handle three (3) people. There is also no assurance if they can cross the river without getting submerge from the water.

Kapag binabaha ang aming daanan, hindi na makapasok ang mga bata sa eskwelahan. Minsan hinihintay pa namin ang tubig na bumaba bago sila makapasok (When the path is flooded, our children cannot go to school. There are times we have to wait for the flood to subside before we can cross the river),” Nancy Godoy, 56, community volunteer on Procurement recounted.

These residents were the ones who planned, accounted and executed the sub-project – a community project generated from the planning process of Department of Social Welfare and Development Office Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS). The sub-project was identified through Barangay Assembly or Participatory Situational Analysis (PSA) attended by the residents to determine possible solutions to address the problem or need.

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS aims to have barangays or communities become empowered to achieve improved access of services and to participate in more inclusive planning, budgeting and implementation.

To implement the sub-project identified, there are community volunteers who work for free. This group of community volunteers is called as Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) which is led by a BSPMC chairman.

As a community volunteer, no one will expect any financial return but the happiness to help the barangay in the improvement of the access of services.

Despite facing difficulties, community volunteers are still full of joy since they can create an infrastructure project that will be used by the community and future generations.

Sabi ko nga sa sarili ko, kahit napapagod at nahihirapan, masaya naman ako. Naiisip ko na itong trabahong ibinigay sa akin, hindi ito lang para sa akin pero para sa barangay (I tell myself that despite experiencing tiredness and difficulties, I am happy. I also think that this job is not just for me but for the barangay also,” Erlinda Buena, 54, BSPMC chairman explained.


To appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of the volunteers as well as the endless guidance of the barangay local government unit (BLGU), the barangay participated in the Stakeholder- Community Volunteer activity or Pamumunong Makamasa: Pagkilos na Sama-Sama. This is a nationwide event in celebration of the 4th anniversary of National Community Driven Development Program (NCDDP) last June 2018.

This activity is like a mirror — putting oneself in someone else’s shoes as a form of reflection on someone’s circumstances and understanding their perspective or point of view. Once we realize the viewpoint, we understand that there’s something more in the picture.

San Vicente Barangay Captain Jose Olos, 53, gladly accepted the challenge which is to demonstrate the construction and monitoring of the sub-project. For a day, Olos assisted in the construction of the cable bridge together with the barangay council by shoveling aggregates carried by the council members as well as community volunteers.

Nakikita ko na maganda ang pamamalakad ng proyekto ng mga community volunteers. Sa akin naman sa pag-momonitor, pag-evaluation at pag-implement ng proyekto, nagbibigay ako ng technical assistance at palagi ako updated sa kanila [community volunteers] kasi gusto ko mangyari yung proyekto (I notice that the community volunteers are very good in implementing the project. On the monitoring, evaluation and implementation of the project, I often give technical assistance and I am always updated on their activities),” Olos stated.

During the activity, the community volunteers and barangay council shared their learnings along the implementation of the sub-project.

Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga community volunteers dahil nagkaisa kami dito sa Kalahi pati rin ang barangay (I am thanking the community volunteers because we are united through Kalahi as well as the whole barangay),” Fraginal said.

According to Rey Albino, 49, barangay councilor, he sees DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS as a program that greatly helps communities.

Alam namin na ang Kalahi, maganda ang kanilang layunin para sa aming komunidad,” Albino shared.

The barangay councilor also cited how the DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS’ process give opportunities to people in improving their communities.

Maganda po ang proseso ng Kalahi kasi community ang nagdesisyon. Dahil sa Kalahi, maraming tao ang nabigyan ng pagkakataon pati na ang mga kababaihan na magkaroon ng partisipasyon sa ating buong komunidad (The process of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS is effective because it gives the community to decide on their projects. Through Kalahi, many people were given opportunities especially women to be part of improving this community),” Albino stated.

To date, the cable bridge is on its 50% physical accomplishment.

Despite their near-death experience, these people stand resilient to improve their community. Their right to decide is not given by others because they were born with it. /ramsertan/

About DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

Camarines Sur has implemented Kalahi-CIDSS in 35 municipalities with a total implementation grant of PhP 1,919,920,535.81 and local counterpart contribution of Php 14,435,890.96 from barangay and municipal local government units (LGUs) to fund community-managed sub-projects.

DSWD had allocated Ocampo with PhP 60,928,835.00 with a counterpart from the LGU of Php 468,806.00.

The construction of cable bridge has a total project cost of PhP 3,104,272.72 which will benefit 100 households.

For more details about DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS, follow this link:


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