Talaingod, Davao del Norte (DSWD XI) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) partners with the 52nd Engineering Brigade, Philippine Army to complete 15 classrooms in seven sitios of Barangay Sto. Niño here in coordination with the Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities through the Construction of Classrooms for Lumad (CCL) of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).

CCL responds to the education needs of IP communities while preserving and promoting their unique culture and heritage.

Last October 2018, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between DSWD XI, LGU Talaingod, and AFP for the CCL projects in Talaingod. 

“The DSWD’s joint partnership with AFP aims to fast-track the implementation of schools in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) in Talaingod after it encountered numerous challenges that caused delay in delivering its commitment of completing construction as planned,” said DSWD Regional Director Mercedita P. Jabagat.

These problems included difficulties in transporting materials to the construction site and non-compliance of the contractor to the targeted physical accomplishments.

DSWD collaboration with its partners

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the programs of DSWD that uses the community-driven development approach to empower communities in undertaking their own development projects. This is done through their direct and active participation in local governance, including identifying their village’s issues and taking part in the implementation of projects responsive to these problems.

“Most of the observed needs of the Indigenous People communities our team witnessed are the lack of basic social services such as schools in far-flung areas, making education difficult to pursue,” said LTC Frederick A. Ancheta CE (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of 534th Engineer Battalion, 52nd Engineering Brigade, Philippine Army.

He added, their assistance to DSWD is intended to fast-track construction of classrooms to respond to the limited access of IP communities to education. “Through education, the young IPs will have a better future ahead because they have classrooms that are conducive to learning.”

“The experienced personnel of 534th Engineering Battalion provided skilled labor in building schools such as masonry, carpentry, and plumbing. This depends on the scale of the needed works to do. The personnel deployed in each site ranges from one to two teams or 9 to 18 personnel,” shared CPT Devo T Bubuli (CE) PA, Company Commander, Charlie Company.

He added they also provide supervision to both skilled and unskilled workers during the construction.

“The Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinating Team (ACT) ensures that the implementation of the construction will be synchronized with our partners. From coordination with the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) in the delivery of materials and the schedule of the unskilled local labor up to the conduct of regular meetings for project updates and reporting system with all involved agencies,” said Merlinda Paragamac, Promotive Services Division Chief of DSWD.

“The community once lost its hope that the proposed classrooms may not be completed. But with the joint effort of DSWD and its partners, villagers now look forward to using the classrooms. Once the classrooms are fully operational, we’ll have a learning space to encourage curiosity, inspire creativity, and provide opportunity for personal and community growth of our IP students,” said school principal Abelardo D. Cardinal Jr.

DSWD also partnered with Department of Education (DepEd) in the CCL implementation.

CCL grant allocation in Barangay Sto. Nino is Php 11,781,855.00 targeting 15 classrooms while the Municipality of Talaingod has a total grant allocation of Php 29,061,909.00. The classrooms will be completed in December 2019. (DSWD)