Tagakaolo farmers traverse the newly-completed Kalahi-CIDSS 280-Linear Meter Barangay Road in Lagumit.
MALITA, Davao Occidental (DSWD XI) – A concrete road in a barangay helps connect communities and people, reduce travel time of farmers in transporting crops, and secure safety of motorists and hikers alike. But for the Tagakaolo tribe in Barangay Pangaleon, the concreting of the road in their sitio means so much more because they took active part in building it.
“During the blessing and turnover, I and the rest of the tribe removed our slippers and ecstatically stepped into our new concreted road,” said Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer Florentina D. Mansalayao.
“We could not contain our happiness. We even wore our traditional costumes. The tribe worked so hard for the sub-project to be completed.”
The P 1,312, 102.00 million-worth Concreting of a 280-Linear Meter Barangay Road is the first-ever Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project the locals inaugurated.
Kalahi-CIDSS or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) is a community-driven development (CDD) initiative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
It seeks to empower citizens by teaching them so they can develop, implement, and maintain projects that would address their most pressing needs.
Majority of the 2071 residents in Barangay Pangaleon belong to the Tagakaolo tribe like Mansalayao.
Mansalayao shared their struggles with their road which they call ‘subida malas’ (hapless uphill route).
“Ang among panginabuhi sa una pirting lisura, ang kalsada kay kurbada na, subida pa. Kada tao nga muagi dira, walay tao nga musakay sa motor tungod kay delikado ug basin sila madisgrasya. Kon ting-init, abog ang dalan, ug ting-ulan, lapok ug danlog, bisan kabayo maglisod (Our life used to be so hard with our road teeming with sharp turns and arduous ascents. Everyone is scared of taking motorbikes, dreading accidents. During dry season, the road emits dust while on rainy days, it becomes muddy and slippery that even a horse will struggle),”
“The impact of the new road to the locals of Barangay Pangaleon will be enormous,” said Francis B. Pineda, Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinator of Malita.
Pineda said Kalahi-CIDSS made an effort to consult with the indigenous peoples whose voices are seldom heard. “The villagers’ voices are critical in making the sub-project successful and sustainable.”
“All members of the community are encouraged to participate. Through Kalahi-CIDSS-led activities, we educate them and help them identify their most pressing needs in the area,” he added.
Despite the challenges, people have been able to adapt and surmounted the difficulties especially in hauling of construction materials.
“Ang pagbayanihan sa tribo ang mao’y nakapadali sa implementasyon. Sa wala pa ma semento, ang mga tao among gipahakot og balas duol sa among sapa, ang mga tao nagtinabangay og lukdo. (The unity of the tribe aided in accelerating project implementation. We mobilized the people in hauling sand from the river. They carried the load atop their head),” recounted Barangay Captain Norman M. Mariano.
When the road construction started, other women-led initiatives began to flourish as well. “Gipinturahan nila ang mga bato sa gilid sa kalsada aron nindot kini sa mga mata sa mga muagi sa dalan (Women painted the rocks installed along the road side, making it pleasing to passersby).”
When construction workers complained of nowhere lack of places to purchase food onsite, women volunteered to prepare food and peddled it.
The spirit of volunteerism united the community and made them so much more thrilled about the new infrastructure in their area.
To date, the municipality of Malita has received a Kalahi-CIDSS municipal grant allocation of P 40,000,000.00 on its first cycle of implementation benefiting 20 barangays.
“Nagapasalamat kami sa Kalahi-CIDSS kay dili lang pag konkreto sa dalan ang ilahang gihatag kanamo, gitagaan nila og oportunidad ang among tribo nga madungog among tingog ug makadumala kami sa pag implementar sa proyekto. (We are so grateful to Kalahi-CIDSS because it didn’t only provide us a concrete road but the opportunity for our tribe to be heard and manage the implementation of the project),” Mariano gratefully conveyed. (DSWD)