COMPOSTELA VALLEY PROVINCE— With yet another feather on its cap, the provincial government is recognized by the national government under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for championing “bayanihan” spirit and applying the community-driven development programs.

Gov. Arturo Uy received the National Bayani Ka! Awards for Best Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) from the DSWD held last February 9 in Manila. With the Governor during the awarding ceremony was Provincial SWD Officer Josephine Frasco.

The “Bayani Ka! Awards” are given in acknowledgement to the contribution of program supporters, and convene the Kalahi-CIDSS (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) volunteer-champions and heroes from the different communities in promoting CDD (Community Driven Development) programs.  On February 5, DSWD-Reg. XI also honoured Compostela Valley province during the 2nd Regional Bayani Ka! Awards held in Davao City.

Impressed by the Kalahi-CIDDS implementation of projects, Gov. Uy adopted the program, naming it ATU Peace or “Assistance Towards Unity for Progress thru Empowerment, Accountability, Cooperation and Efficiency.”  The ATU Peace program allows the barangays to identify priority projects to be implemented and provides the province an avenue to appropriately extend its financial assistance to all the barangays.

“I believe in the importance of participatory democracy in every undertaking of the government. By adhering to the principle of “Barangay Walang Iwanan,”  this ensures us that no barangay will be left behind in the delivery of public services,’ Gov. Uy said.

The province was also recognized for making the Filipino culture of “bayanihan” alive in the province with the housing program for the poorest of the poor as one of its earliest initiatives in collaboration with the Gawad Kalinga. All 11 municipalities already have its Uswag-Gawad Kalinga Villages made possible from the huge turn-out of volunteers who helped build the houses.

Meanwhile, other programs of the province anchored on “Bayanihan” include the “Kalinga sa Kabataan: Bayanihan sa Paaralan” (KKBSP) and “Bayanihan para sa Karunungan” (BPSK) programs in partnership with the Department of Education.

To date, 83 units of classroom buildings have already been constructed through KKBSP to help address the classroom shortages in the province by way of a community-based, public-private partnership.

The BPSK is another banner program related to reading improvement and comprehension of school children, particularly Grade 3 pupils, supporting the nation’s advocacy of making “Every Child A Reader.”  From 33 public elementary schools in 2014, the BPSK now has 67 school beneficiaries across the province.

Another innovative practice from the “bayanihan” concept in Comval is the “Adopt-a-Child” program of the Provincial Nutrition Council which has also been intensified with the core mission of addressing malnutrition among children.  The provincial government employees, themselves, lead the endeavour inspired by the passion to help.  The money spent to sustain the food supplementation was taken from the personal donation of the employees and other interventions that they could extend to the family.

Gov. Uy admits that on its early years, it was not easy for “bayanihan” culture to thrive in Comval “but over the years, it has become ‘a way of life’ and instilled among Comvalenyos. It became one of my administration’s strategies in line with our thrust for good governance.” (IDS Comval)