The collective efforts of old community volunteers turned public servants and new community volunteers created a dynamic synergy in community development. This was proven by the community members of Barangay Baliuag Viejo in the town of Minalabac, Camarines Sur which formed the convergence of experienced wisdom and fresh energy that opened the door of transformative change.

Maribel Aquino, 44, who started as a Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) community volunteer in 2008, has witnessed firsthand the significant impact of grassroots initiatives.

Dahil po sa mga inputs na naibigay ng KALAHI-CIDSS, tumatak pong sobra sa aking isipan at puso na madala ‘yun hanggang sa ngayon. Dahil nga ‘yun po talaga ang kailangan para lalo kang maging mas kapakipakinabang na constituent ng isang komunidad,” she said.

(With the inputs provided by KALAHI-CIDSS, it has remained ingrained in my mind and heart up until now. Those inputs were important to be a valuable constituent of the community.)

Through Maribel and fellow community volunteers, they implemented three (3) sub-projects such as Regravelling of Road, Drainage Canal, and Barangay Health Station to address pressing needs.  From infrastructure sub-projects to the establishment of health facility, Maribel played an important role during the implementation as Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairperson which harnessed the collective effort of her community to create tangible changes.

With a desire to empower her fellow community members, Maribel stepped into the role of Barangay Councilor from 2010 until 2023. Recently, she was appointed as Barangay Secretary.

Sobrang nagpapasalamat po ako. Dahil po sa KALAHI, na empower ako. Mas lalo po ako naging epektibong barangay official ng Barangay Baliuag Viejo,” she explained.

(I am eternally thankful. Through KALAHI-CIDSS, I am empowered. As a result, it made me into a more effective barangay official of Barangay Baliuag Viejo.)

As Maribel sees the new wave of community volunteers bursting with fresh perspectives and unbounded energy, among them stands Cresencio Maravilla III, 58, a day care worker with a cheerful attitude and warm smile.

Ang nag-udyok sa akin bilang maging community volunteer ay nakita ko ang kalagayan ng aming barangay na nangangailangan talaga ng programa na naaangkop sa kasalukuyang problema ng barangay,” he shared.

(My decision to become a volunteer came from observing the state of my village, which is in dire need of a program tailored to address the issues at hand.)

In two (2) years of his experience as a community volunteer, Cresencio together with his co-volunteers implemented Cash-for-Work, Temporary Quarantine Facility, Concreting of Barangay Road, and Improvement of Two (2) units Child Development Center.

Aside from implementing community-identified sub-projects, he also learned a lot which resulted in developing his leadership and communication skills.

Para po akong isang papel na blanko, tabula rasa, walang laman. Noong naging volunteer ako, na-develop yung aking abilidad sa pagle-lead ng tao at communication skills din po. Yung blankong papel, napuno na ng kaalaman,” he described.

(I resemble a blank paper or an empty tablet. As I started volunteering, I developed my abilities in people-leading and communication skills. From being a blank page, it turned into a one filled with learnings.)

As Maribel and Cresencio stand side by side with a common objective in community development, they embody the saying, “change is the only constant”. Collectively, they exemplify the synergic interaction between experience and insight – the core of KALAHI-CIDSS.