Village Chief Appreciates Kalahi-CIDSS Process

The distinctive implementation process followed by Kalahi-CIDSS is now slowly helping barangay officials improve their reputation. People automatically cast doubt on projects that are directly implemented by the village chief, believing this was done because of some ulterior motive. On the other hand, there are political officials who would quail at the idea of involving villagers in the implementation process.

Yet, true leaders will recognize the value of Kalahi-CIDSS in addressing poverty in the communities, says Barangay Capt. Ariel Ilaran of Barangay Napnot, Madalag.

Napnot is one of the 14 barangays in Madalag that were prioritized in the first cycle of Kalahi-CIDSS-Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) implementation in the province of Aklan.

For Ilaran, the engagement of the municipal government of Madalag with Kalahi-CIDSS frees village chiefs from suspicions of graft and corruption. “Ang pundo wala et gaagi sa barangay kapitan. Deretso ga kadto sa barangay account, Ang kapitan indi man signatory sa tseke. Gani indi na kami pag suspetsahan nga ginbulsa namon kwarta et barangay. (The barangay captain does not handle the money. Instead, it goes directly to the barangay account.  The barangay captain is also not the signatory of the check. As such, we cannot be accused of pocketing the barangay’s money),” he says.

Ilaran is one of the barangay leaders in the town of Madalag who welcomed the entry of Kalahi-CIDSS and its processes in the community.

While there are those who may complain about the cash flow process followed by Kalahi-CIDSS, Ilaran has no problems with it. “Wala man problema sa akon kon wala ea gaagi pundo sa akon hay basta ang proyekto gatupa [I do not have any issues with the money not going through me. What is important is that the project will push through],” says Ilaran.

From the beginning of the Kalahi-CIDSS process, the people were oriented on how the system works, including issues on finance. According to Ilaran, people were made to understand how the Internal Revenue Allotment fund would be spent. As such, they were aware that they needed to provide a local counterpart contribution for the 1.627-kilometer farm-to-market road in Sitio Dum-eag.

He says that conducting barangay assemblies has helped the community understand what Kalahi-CIDSS is all about. Through these, they learned how to effectively identify what projects needed to be prioritized by the community. “Bago man ea sa amon nga pumuluyo ang gakilala sang kinahanglanon nga proyekto sang barangay [Being asked to identify what projects are needed in the barangay is a new experience to us]”, says Ilaran.

While the concept was novel to them, they quickly showed their participation in the process, seeing the transparency and focus in people participation that made Kalahi-CIDSS distinct from other types of programs. 

The transparency of Kalahi-CIDSS also made it easier for landowners to donate a portion of their property for the farm-to-market road project. According to Ilaran, they talked to more than 10 land owners to allow the smooth implementation of the project.

People will be able to transport their products to the market more easily once the farm-to-market road is constructed. As an agricultural community, the income of the villagers of Napnot depends on how much of their crops, which primarily consists of rice, copra, abaca and root crops, they will be able to sell.

In the past, it became hard to transport these products whenever it rained, resulting in loss of income. As such, the arrival of Kalahi-CIDSS in the community was met with a lot of excitement. “Adlaw-adlaw kadto ako sa project site kag ginalantaw ang obra sang contractor para masiguro nga tama ang pag-obra sang proyekto sang barangay [I go to the project site every day to check and monitor if the contractor is doing the project properly],” says Ilaran.

At 38, Ilaran hopes to help his community more through Kalahi-CIDSS. As a leader, he says it is his duty to help in the implementation of the project. After all, it is the entire community that will benefit.

The innovative features and strategies of the Project have even managed to open new horizons for development, even for political groups on opposite sides of the fence. Ilaran, a second-termer, proudly admits that he is actively rallying for the support of other barangay captains in the proper implementation of the Kalahi-CIDSS sub-projects in their municipality.

Ilaran appreciates the innovations introduced by Kalahi-CIDSS to the community in terms of project implementation. “Nami man ea hay ang pagpili sang proyekto nga pagapundohan hayag nga ginahimo. Kon hindi ikaw ka partido sang mayor hay budlayan man ikaw kakuha sang proyekto [It is good that the selection of projects for funding is made transparent. In the past, it was hard to to get projects for your barangay if you were a political adversary of the mayor],” says Ilaran.

They also did not have to waste effort to try to get funding for their proposed projects. “Indi na magasto pamasahe balik-balik sa politico pangayo sang proyekto.Ari na ang Kalahi-CIDSS [We do not have to spend money in transportation expenses to go to politicians to ask for funding for our projects. Kalahi-CIDSS is here already],” says Ilaran.

For all of these, he sees rays of hope. Through Kalahi-CIDSS, he has found a real partner in pursuit of development in the countryside and in empowering the community.