Police officer protects, serves through DSWD program

MANILA, Philippines – SPO1 Edward Mandalunes put a whole new dimension to the traditional police credo "to serve and protect" when he decided to serve as a volunteer in one of the government's poverty alleviation programs in Cagayan de Oro City.

Mandalunes was part of the Social Welfare Department's KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Program) in Barangay Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City.

Despite his heavy responsibilities as a police officer, he still chose to volunteer, assuming the post of community sub-project management chairperson, the de facto leader of all the KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP volunteers, no less.

His reason for doing so? He believes that being a public servant means he has the duty to devote his time and energy to community development.

Driven to help

Edward is known throughout his neighborhood in Sitio Lazaro as a good man.

As a police officer, he has constantly proven his commitment to public service as a law enforcer. As a family man, he is known for being a loyal husband and a good father to his 4 children. As a community resident, he has gained the respect of his peers in their community because of his leadership skills and his selfless desire to help.

Being a volunteer is in keeping with his personality as someone ready and willing to help his fellow residents, despite the demands of his public profession.

As a program that uses the community-driven development (CDD) strategy, KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP, originally known as Kalahi-CIDSS, involves residents by ensuring that they themselves have the power to identify, implement, and manage the sub-projects that address their village’s most pressing needs.

Having seen for himself that his neighbors are badly in need of jobs so that they can adequately support their families, Edward took it upon himself to lead the implementation of their Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project.

Barangay Lapasan is one of the two communities chosen as the pilot sites for the urban CDD pilot implementation in Misamis Oriental, the other one being, Barangay Puntod.

The urban CDD pilot was conducted by Kalahi-CIDSS to gauge the applicability of the CDD strategy in the urban setting. Prior to this, the program was exclusively implemented in rural areas.

Working as a team

Edward and 117 other volunteers planned what the best intervention would be for their community. They eventually chose the provision of capability-building trainings for interested residents so they could develop skills that will allow them to land well-paying jobs.

As one who was used to being a leader, Edward knew that he would be carrying a huge responsibility as the BSPM chairperson, not just because of the tasks he would be given, but also because of the responsibilities attached to the position.

"Isip pangulo, kinahanglan mamahimo ko nga sumbanan sa akong mga kaubanan. Akong giseguro nga akong gibuhat ang akong gipamulong. Dili man kapugngan nga adunay mosupak; kinahanglan pasensyoso ug abli akong panghunahuna aron makapangulo ko nga epektibo," he said.

(I believe that as a leader, I should be a good example to everyone. I make sure that I practice what I say. It is inevitable that some people resist change, but I know that one has to be patient and open-minded so that you can lead effectively.)

Nonetheless, Edward admitted that he experienced several challenges as a community leader, so much so that there were times that he wanted to quit volunteering. His neighbors, however, always made him change his mind.

Nalipay kami nga si SPO1 Edward Mandalunes ang among pangulo tungod may respeto 'mi niya ug maka-disiplina usab siya namong mga miyembro, ilabina kay dako nga suliran ang sugal ug mga bisyo sa among kumonidad,” a co-volunteer shared.

(We are glad that SPO1 Edward Mandalunes is our head volunteer because our members respect him and he can impose discipline on the community members, considering that gambling and different forms of vices are problem vices in our community.)

As such, Edward continued serving through KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP.

Kay nakita nako nga gusto sa akong mga silingan nga ako nga mangulo ug aduna sila'y pagsalig kanako, mao nga naka-desisyon ko nga magpabilin sa pagpatuman sa programa,” he said.

(Seeing my neighbors wanting me to lead them and believing in me was enough for me to decide to stay with the program.)

Edward’s efforts, along with his fellow volunteers, bore fruit when the 118 residents were trained in, and graduated from, pharmacy servicing, motorcycle repair, housekeeping, dressmaking, and facilitation for janitorial services.

According to Edward, KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP helped his village. He saw for himself how people close to him were able to land jobs after their training through the program.

"Nagtrabaho na ang akong mga silingan sa mga nagkalain-lain nga kompanya. Ang uban gahulat nalang sa ilang mga papelis nga aprobahan aron makasulod og trabaho sa housekeeping didto sa gawas sa nasud,” he said.

(My neighbors are now working with different firms. The others are also about to fly abroad to do housekeeping jobs and they are just waiting for their papers to be finalized.)

He continued: “Dahil bilang volunteers, nakakatulong kami sa aming komunidad na silay mabigyan ng maayos at maginhawang buhay (As volunteers, we were able to help our community so that residents can have good and comfortable lives).”

Kaya pala namin ang pagbabago (We can make change happen),” Edward concluded. ###

– Rappler.com