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A people-centered town beyond Community Driven Development

Municipal Mayor Josephine Alcantara-Cruz of Donsol, Sorsogon elucidates how she adopted Community-Driven Development (CDD) in her municipality.

Planning or deciding for yourself is a difficult task to do. How about the weight people carry on their hands in planning, budgeting and implementing projects to fulfill the needs or solve problems of the community as well as the country?

Making the right choices is not decided by one person or a group of individuals but the whole community itself because programs are executed to benefit many people for greater development outcomes.

This kind of intervention was made realized by an approach called Community Driven Development (CDD) wherein it actively engages beneficiaries in designing, managing and implementing development projects.

CDD is widely used in developing countries. Considered as an effective intervention in giving opportunities for vulnerable sectors in community participation and empowerment, CDD is being executed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) in helping communities identify their needs or problems to improve the delivery of services, reduce poverty and good local governance.

Through this strategy, many adopted the process to continue the collective action of communities particularly the municipality of Donsol.


At first, Donsol Municipal Mayor Josephine Alcantara-Cruz had some questions unanswered about the program.

Mayor Cruz narrated her experience on how she was oriented about DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS.

“On a program orientation for the mayors way back in 2013, doon ko lang na-realize na hindi lang ako yung mayor na naliligaw at hindi nakakaintindi sa Kalahi-CIDSS projects ang dami pala namin (On an orientation for the mayors, I realized that I’m not the only one who is confused and doesn’t understand the program),” she recounted.

According to her, there was another mayor who vocally expressed sentiments questioning if there’s any trust for the mayors and why the funds should be directed to the community.

The local chief executive recalled that all mayors have similar questions:

Ano ba kasi yung Kalahi [-CIDSS] na yan (What is really Kalahi [-CIDSS])?”

Bakit ayaw ibigay at ipadaan sa mayor (Why are funds not directed to the mayors)?”

Bakit limitado ang role ng mayor sa mga proyekto (Why is the role of mayor limited)? Wala ba kayo tiwala sa amin (Do you have any trust in us)?”

Those were the statements that Mayor Cruz cannot forget.

“From there I took the effort of educating myself about Kalahi [-CIDSS] through trainings conducted for the community volunteers,” she said.

Mayor Cruz also raised the issue on volunteerism of barrio folks considering they don’t receive any salary for their efforts but she realized something upon attending the National Community Volunteers’ Congress and 3rd National Bayani Ka! Awards last 2017.

Nag-breakout session (we had a breakout session), then the volunteers started to share their stories about their experiences and sacrifices to improve their community. Gusto ko umiyak doon, sa dami na nai-share nila (During that time, I wanted to cry because of so many things they have shared),” the municipal mayor recounted.

“Others were so passionate na dahil sa volunteerism, nagkaroon sila ng self-worth na may magagawa sila (Others were so passionate. Because of volunteerism, they earned self-worth and they have something they can do for the community),” she added.


Despite doubts on the concept of the program, Mayor Cruz had observed the transformation in each person.

Nakikita ko yung Kalahi [-CIDSS] na parang University for the Barrio Folks (I see Kalahi [-CIDSS] as University for the Barrio Folks),” she stated.

Yung mga walang chance makapag-aral, nakakapag-aral na sila. Natututo sila ng bookkeeping, procurement, paano maghandle ng tao at operations (People who doesn’t have a chance to study were able to learn. They also gained new knowledge such as bookkeeping, procurement, managing and operations),” Mayor Cruz added.

The rationale of the program is to follow the concept of CDD through the application of the strategy in programs to be implemented and needed by barrio folks.

She also added that the first thing they did is the Community-Based Management System (CBMS) wherein they were able to establish the 201 filing system of each barangay containing the salient information such as population, livelihood as well as the problems experienced in the community.

“From here, lahat na proyekto o programang i-implement namin ay base sa data hindi kung saan lang ang gusto kung ano ang dapat (From here, all projects or programs to be implemented are based on a data not just through wants but what is right and needed),” Mayor Cruz stated.

Along with the creation of the OBA, Mayor Cruz also approved the creation of a regular position for the said office.

Among the responsibilities of the position are to assist the barangay in conducting consultations, dialogues and fora for genuine needs analysis and come up with relevant and responsive programs and projects for the people.

Also, OBA will conduct a feedback gathering mechanism among the people regarding the effectiveness of the general programs being implemented by the barangay and municipality.

According to Edwin Orticio, Planning and Development Coordinator, the projects that were not prioritized for funding of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS are included in the Annual Investment Program.

“In the adoption of CDD, the people must participate in the planning process and in the monitoring of the projects,” Orticio added.

Mayor Cruz also shared that she is trying her best to convert the municipality from mayor centered town to community-centered town wherein the people will have an ownership of everything that happens in the community.

“Ang gumagawa at may pag-aari ay ang community hindi lang ang LGU and hopefully this will bring us to next generation and beyond (The people are the ones who have role and ownership in the community, not just the LGU and hopefully, this will bring us to the next generation and beyond),” she added.

Through CDD, the municipality was able to step up beyond from what is expected in the implementation of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS as well as reliving collective action, thus; creating a new chapter in strengthening Bayanihan as one of the most valuable traits of being a Filipino.


About DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

Sorsogon has implemented Kalahi-CIDSS in 14 municipalities with a total implementation grant of PhP 697,428,961.11 and local counterpart contribution of Php 15,173,647.00 from barangay and municipal local government units (LGUs) to fund community-managed sub-projects.

DSWD had allocated Donsol with PhP 66,588,200.00 with a counterpart from the LGU of Php 351,431.00.

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


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