Paghaluban soars high towards empowerment

Published by Ranelle Anne Sertan on

We learn to fly not by being fearless, but by the daily practice of courage. Same for a community taking its first step towards development in this time of pandemic. The community of Paghaluban in Barcelona, Sorsogon is no exception from experiencing the effects of COVID-19. It has brought anxiety among families since their livelihood and employment were immensely affected.

“Naging mailap ang mga trabaho at nagsi-tanggalan ng mga empleyado kaya ang karamihan ay nahihirapan kung saan sila makakakuha ng panggastos araw-araw,” Jhonrey Evasco, community volunteer and chairman of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) explained. (Getting a job lately is really tough especially that many people were laid off from their work so most of the community members find it very difficult to look
for sources of income for their everyday expenses.)

Seeing this as a top priority, the community identified the cash-for-work (CFW) sub-project for communal gardening as an intervention for this problem. The community also proposed the provision of medical supplies and equipment for its existing quarantine facility.

Both sub-projects were funded through the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS) amounting to PHP338,024.51.

Jhonrey also shared that being a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community was not that easy as he became a subject of ridicule before.

In the face of receiving offending words from others, he showed them that he can help the society as a youth leader and volunteer. Thru volunteering, he found the acceptance he had long been hoping for.

“Sa kabila ng aking kalagayan, binigyan din ako ng respeto, pagunawa at kahalagahan,” he remarked.
(Regardless of my gender, they gave me respect, understanding and importance.)

According to Jhonrey, even though being a volunteer is a difficult duty, he is happy being part of the implementation of sub-projects that significantly benefit the community.

“Masaya ako na hindi hadlang ang aking kasarian upang makatulong at maging isang volunteer,” Jhonrey said. (I am happy that I was able to help and become a volunteer despite my gender.)

“Hindi ko naramdaman na ako ay isang pabigat bagkus isang volunteer na nakakatulong sa pagkakaroon ng mas maganda at maunlad na pamayanan,” he added. (I’ve never felt that I was a burden but a volunteer who helped in having a more beautiful and prosperous community.)

According to Jhonrey, he saw a lot of transformations in his community. One example of those changes is the active participation of each community member.

“Sa pagkakaisa at pagtutulungan ng mga opisyal lalong lalo na ang mga volunteer, nagampanan ang mga trabaho,” the volunteer explained. (Through cooperation and collaboration of officials and the volunteers, we
accomplished all the tasks.)

The name Paghaluban was derived from the word, “natacluban” which means covered. It started from a legend that a giant bird flew over the community covering it in darkness and someone shouted “natacluban”. Despite the negative connotation of the name, the community proved that they
can soar high towards empowerment.

With report from Rubylyn Gatus

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS is a poverty alleviation program that helps communities in poor municipalities to identify challenges on poverty and implement developmental projects using the CDD approach.

To hasten approval of community projects and implementation during the pandemic, the program used DROP, a simplified Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) that still follows the principles of CDD.
In Sorsogon, DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS implemented DROP in four (4) municipalities with a grant amounting to PHP45,658,050.00.

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

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