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DSWD turns over biggest project community in Guimaras town

GUIMARAS – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) turned over last week a 6.7-kilometer community access road to Barangay Alegria in the town of Sibunag, a fifth-class municipality.

The access road, amounting to P40 million, is acknowledged as the biggest and most expensive sub-project constructed through Kalahi-CIDSS to date.

P35 million of its cost is from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a partner of the DSWD in the implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS. The remaining P5 million is the local counterpart contribution of the local government unit (LGU) and the community.

The sub-project is funded through the incentive grant of the Kalahi-CIDSS and MCC partnership, dubbed as KC-MCC. The grant is given to communities that have a proven track record in the implementation of the project.

Brgy. Alegria has consistently shown good performance in Kalahi-CIDSS. Through the program, the community was able to build two school buildings prior to the construction of the access road. The village, together with the LGU, lobbied for and was granted the incentive grant with the condition that the project will be completed before the end of May 2015, the closing of KC-MCC. Last week’s turnover showed that they were more than able to meet that challenge.

While Brgy. Alegria is the proponent of the access road, its neighboring barangays will also benefit from the project, as the road also traverses through them.

In Brgy. Alegria alone, at least 280 households will benefit from this.

John Polk, the Resident Country Director of MCC in the Philippines said, “I was so excited to go back to Guimaras, not just for the mangoes, but for this project, which is the longest built through KC-MCC.”

“Eto ang unang pagkakataon na nakita kong ganitong kalaking pera ang binigay sa munisipyo namin (This is the first time that I saw this large amount of money given to our town),” said Sibunag Mayor Luben Vilchez.

He admitted that he originally doubted that they would be granted the sub-project, given its cost and scale. He appreciated the hard work put into the sub-project by the Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers.

“We could see all the people in Alegria giving their support for this project,” he said.

For her part, DSWD OIC-Regional Director Rebecca Geamala congratulated the Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers for their hard work in realizing their sub-project.

“You are the heroes, not us,” she said, addressing the community during the turnover.
Vicente Eliveran, a day care worker who served as the leader of the Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers said that they really fought to have the sub-project granted to them, owing to the difficulty in traveling to and from their village.

He expressed his thanks to the program saying, “Ang maganda sa Kalahi-CIDSS, involved ang grassroots (What’s good about Kalahi-CIDSS is that it involves the grassroots).”

He proudly said, “Rough road noon, concreted na ngayon! (It was a rough road before, and now it’s concreted!).”

He concluded his speech by encouraging other people to participate in community development through Kalahi-CIDSS, saying that this was the biggest lesson he learned through the program.

“Kapit-bisig laban sa kahirapan, mga bagong kuwento ang kinakailangan (Let us link arms against poverty, let us make new stories of change happen),” he said, referring to Kalahi-CIDSS’ call for change in people’s mindsets and behaviors so that they themselves sustain their own development.

The town of Sibunag was able to implement 20 sub-projects through Kalahi-CIDSS.###