The Poder y Prosperidad de la Comunidad (Empowerment and Development of Communities) or shortly known as PODER project, closes its seventh phase providing 25 basic community facilities and services to two municipalities in Bicol region.

PODER 7 is a special project realized through the convergent partnership of Department of Social Welfare and Development and Agencia Española Cooperacion Internacional para El Desarrollo (AECID). With a total grant of Php18.8 million, it funded the priority needs of the communities in the municipalities of Juban, Sorsogon and San Pascual, Masbate.

The implementation of PODER 7 follows the same principles and processes of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the core poverty programs of DSWD. It strongly advocates Kalahi-CIDSS’ community-driven development strategy wherein

The closing activity of PODER 7 was held at La Roca Veranda Suites and Restaurant, Gogon, Legazpi City last March 20, 2013. Mercedes Cornejo, the Program Manager for Social Development of AECID Philippines, graced the said event and was joined by Edgar G. Pato, the national project manager of PODER and Kalahi-CIDSS with Felix M. Armeña, the Assistant Regional Director of DSWD Field Office V. The local chief executives of San Pascual and Juban were also present together with their barangay councils and community volunteers. The team of AECID Bicol was also present and was represented by Glena Orogo and Lea F. Cea.

“This is not the end but this is only the beginning to work even harder in sustaining these community subprojects,” Mercedes Cornejo said.

The closing activity aimed to showcase the learning of LGUs about PODER 7 and to share their experiences on how they were able to successfully implement the project within the specific timeframe of one year. Dir. Edgar Pato lauded the community volunteers, LGUs and all stakeholders and encouraged them to capitalize on what they have learned during the PODER 7 implementation.

Awards for the Best Subproject and Best Photo Gallery were awarded to San Pascual featuring the daycare center facility constructed in Brgy. Dancalan.

The award for the best subproject was based on the participation rate of the people in the community, the on-time implementation of the project, the mobilization of community volunteers and the availability of operational policies and ordinances to support operation and maintenance activities. On the other hand, the photo gallery depicted the visual presentation of the PODER 7 experiences and showed the perceived impact of the project in the communities.

PODER project commenced in Bicol last 2005 and in addition to the latest 25 community infrastructures, it has already funded 231 poverty reduction projects in the course of its implementation. Moreover, it aided Bicol from the devastation brought about by super typhoon Reming in 2006 under its rehabilitation project.

Other than Juban and San Pascual, PODER has been implemented in Manito, Manlinao, Legazpi, Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Tabaco, Tiwi, Malilipot, Libon, Aroroy, Claveria, Minalabac, Presentatcion, Paracale and Sta. Elena. Most of these municipalities have previously implemented Kalahi-CIDSS.###jbmarbella