BRAULIO E. DUJALI, Davao Del Norte (DSWD XI) – To most people who are living in the city, bad road conditions are a temporary thing. City dwellers get to enjoy faster action from government and there is always a budget for road repair.

But for people living in remote villages such as Barangay New Casay, their story is different. They had to endure decades of having bad, hazardous roads, that impaired not just their livelihoods, but their daily lives as well.  With the entry of Kalahi-CIDSS in 2015, bad roads disappeared.

“Pag naay muagi na mga dayo sa among lugar, makaagi sila sa usa ka kalsada, usa ka kabilin nga proyekto gikan sa pagpaningkamot sa komunidad pinaagi sa programang Kalahi-CIDSS (When tourists come to our place, they will pass through a road which has become a legacy of the people’s hardwork through Kalahi-CIDSS),” said Helen B. Quillo, 59, a Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteer who could not contain her happiness upon sharing their achievement.

Through this community access road project, students and traders no longer have to endure the inconvenience of rough, bumpy and sometimes muddy roads.

The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the programs of Department of Social Welfare and Development, uses the community driven development (CDD) approach to empower local communities to undertake their own development projects by actively and directly partaking in local governance by identifying their community needs as well as taking part of implementing projects that address these needs.

Rough roads no more

Barangay New Casay is surrounded with vast rice fields but for a long time, roads here were muddy and bumpy during rainy seasons and dusty during dry seasons.

“We used to have a hard time passing through this road. It was very rocky, and depleted. Then when it rains, it’s slippery, and dark during night time. It was a real hazard,” recalled Ronie S. Compas, 32, Kalahi-CIDSS Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chair.

The concreting of 490 and 175 linear meter community access roads with canal lining which was undertaken during the first and second cycle of implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS with a funding of Php 4,857,280.00 and Php 58,059.00 local government counterpart, helps connect communities and people, reduces travel time of farmers in transporting crops, and secures safety of students, motorists and hikers alike.

Benefiting some 410 households, the access road will greatly contribute to safer, more comfortable trips for people of Barangay New Casay. Children can now go to school easily, people can safely and quickly move around the area, while farmers and traders can bring their products to commercial and economic centers faster and more conveniently.

Small, sure steps

Compas shared that constructing the road had both its challenges and opportunities.  Before embarking on the project in 2015, residents agreed they had to take small yet sure steps.

Sa first cycle sa Kalahi-CIDSS, nagduha-duha pa ang mga lumulupyo diri nga mag apil sa programa. Ang una namong gihimo, nakig coordinate mi sa kapitan  na ang community ang maglihok ani nga programa, nangayo pud mi og tabang sa pagdisiplina ug pag-awhag sa katawhan gikan sa barangay, (During the first cycle, residents were reluctant to cooperate. We coordinated with the barangay captain first and explained that the community will be the one to implement the project. We also sought assistance from the barangay in terms of disciplining and mobilizing the residents),” said Alejandro B. Astrolabio Sr, 74, Project Preparation Team (PPT) head.

He said that the most difficult task he encountered was making sure the implementation went as planned.

Pero pasalamat mi kay naa ang Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinating Team nga nag guide sa amoa. Ganahan pud mi sa mga seminars nga napadayag namo ang among mga gipambati.  Daghan mi na learn nga tools sa pag Participatory Situation Analysis (PSA). Naa mi tahas nga ma share pud namo among knowledge nga makuha sa pag conduct og PSA diri sa among lugar (We are grateful that the Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinating Team was around to guide us. We also like the seminars which enabled us express our feelings. We learned a lot of tools in conducting Participatory Situation Analysis. We are tasked to share our knowledge in PSA here in our barangay).”

Good governance, innovations

With their improved roads and strengthened participation, residents of the barangay have decided to help the local government in maintaining the road access.

To support the maintenance and operation, our community launched the drive “Tapat Mo, Linis Mo”. This was organized after the implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS, Astrolabio said.

“Our community was shortly declared drug free by the Department of Interior and Local Governance (DILG). When residents became more hands on in the program, they became mindful of other community undertakings such as drug prevention.”

Sure enough, because of its adherence to the principle of good governance, Barangay New Casay was declared winner under the Improved Local Governance category of the 4th Kalahi-CIDSS Bayani Ka! Awards, a social marketing initiative of Kalahi-CIDSS that seeks to recognize the exemplary work of program supporters and partners who pushed projects that are community-led and citizen-centered.

Now that the barangay is gearing up for the third cycle of implementation, folks in New Casay are looking forward to increasing participation rate of people in their community.

“Amoang pakusgan pa ang Sama-Samang Pagkilos nang may Malasakit aron daghan pang volunteers ang mag apil.  (We will strengthen Collective Action with Compassion so that more Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers will participate),” Astrolabio declared. (DSWD)