Palm Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte –With a mere Php 300,000.00-worth of solar home lighting system and two solar-powered street lights, remote Sitio Lumabag here has started to be vibrant at night time.

Mobilized by Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA (PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn) and the local government unit, the community solar lighting system was inaugurated on September 9.

Under this project, each household here was provided with a 2.5-watt solar panel, a 12-volt battery/charger and two LED lamps; while the street lights were powered with 50-watt panels and 12-volt battery chargers.

Gone are the nights when the 41 families endure dark, quiet nights with only a few kerosene lamps lighting the mountainous night scape.

Tribal chieftain Datu Doming Manlaunan, a father of seven, a Kalahi-CIDSS (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) and a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary, recounted how difficult it was for them to survive countless evenings in their lightless homes.

“We deliver our goods as early as possible to the market so we would be home before the night falls,” shared Datu Doming.

He said it takes almost an hour to travel through habal-habal (single motorcycle) to reach the village center.

Never did the old folks in the sitio think that DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS would reach their area considering the hilly, treacherous road.

But long before the project was realized, most of the tribe members admitted they lack drive and aggressiveness to participate.

Their indifference was aggravated with the perpetual dispute between armed insurgent groups and the government military. They were resigned to the thought that it would be impossible for them to attain a better life.

Sa una, kung naa mangadto diri na taga gobyerno, kadaghanan sa akong mga ka tribo, dili sila gusto atubangon. Mahadlok sila basin mailad sila unya pangkuhaon ang ilang mga yuta (Before, when officers from the government would visit, most of my brethren would not entertain them, wary to be deceived and scared that their lands would be taken away),” said Datu Doming.

Desiree Jacob, Deputy Area Coordinator of Kalahi-CIDSS in Talaingod, said the tribal folks are overwhelmed because they were given the chance to identify the project that they needed most during the Barangay Participatory Situation Analysis (PSA), a social preparation phase of Kalahi-CIDSS.

“The most difficult part of our journey as Area Coordinating Team was to convince the IP villagers to participate. They degraded themselves as illiterate with no capabilities to acquire and carry out such responsibility,” Jacob added.

Datu Doming proudly declared, “Kaya namo ang pagbag-o tungod kay gitagaan mi sa gobyerno og oportunidad nga makatabang sa pagtukod og mga proyekto (We can change and improve our lives because government provided us the opportunity to participate in building community projects).”

Led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP is the expansion into a national scale of operations of the community-driven development (CDD) approach, which was tried and proven effective by Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS). It targets to cover 847 of the poorest municipalities in the country.

PAMANA, one of the modalities of KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP, is the Philippine government’s program and framework for peace and development. It continues to implement projects in nine more municipalities in the region.

The three barangays in Talaingod will be granted 15 sub-projects in the 3rd cycle of PAMANA implementation. DSWD