Person with disability leads the development of his communtiy

Rey Jaboneta discusses with the workers and community residents during the construction of the Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project 200 linear meter drainage canal in Barangay New Panay.
Rey Jaboneta (left) poses with DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman during the awarding ceremony of the Kalahi-CIDSS’ 1st Bayani Ka recognition where he was awarded as Best PWD.

“Alam ko na ang kapansanan ko ay isang limitasyon para makapagsilbi lalo na kung pisikal na lakas ang kailangan. Subalit, hindi ito magiging limitasyon sa pagtupad ng aking mga pangarap (I know that my handicap will limit my ability to serve. However, it will not limit my capacity to dream and pursue my goals),” asserted Rey E. Jaboneta, 42, a volunteer of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services National Community-Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the anti-poverty programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Kalahi-CIDSS uses the Community-Driven Development approach that puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the voice and the vote to participate in the local development process and identify solutions that will address needs identified by communities themselves. Through CDD, citizens work hand-in-hand with government and non-government organizations to ensure that their needs are met and they become actively involved in local processes.

Despite being a person with disability (PWD), Rey does not stop by simply doing his share of community work.  He tries his best to excel as proven by his Kalahi-CIDSS’ 1st Bayani Ka recognition as Best PWD, which he recently received from DSWD.

The 1st Bayani Ka Award aims to acknowledge outstanding community volunteers and initiatives, and build a pool of champions for positive change.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stressed that PWDs should also have equal access to training, and other opportunities.

“Rey is a good role model that each one of us has the capacity to become movers of change given the right chance,” Sec. Soliman said during the awarding ceremony.

Volunteering his services

Born with polio, Rey has experienced discrimination from people around him.

“Maraming nagdududa sa aking kakayahan at may mga nagpapasaring tungkol sa aking kapansanan (They would often question my ability and hurl insensitive comments about my disability),” he said.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he re-focused the negative vibe as a challenge to motivate him in pursuing his goals of helping the community.

Since 2012, he had been leading the Kalahi-CIDSS implementation in his village in Barangay New Panay in Maragusan in Compostela Valley as Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee Chairman.

To date, 173 community projects had been implemented in Maragusan which consist of roads, electrification project, bridges, school buildings, water system, drainage system, pre/post-harvest facilities, light house, eco-tourism projects, and skills training/capability building activities.

“His role is to take care of the overall management of Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project together with other elected committee members,” said Helenbergs Tulang, Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinator in Maragusan.

Rey shared, “Nakulbaan ko pero nalipay sa responsibilidad nga gisalig sa akong mga kauban sa barangay sa akoa (I was anxious but happy at the same time with the responsibility entrusted to me by the community).”

He also expressed his gratitude to community facilitators of Kalahi-CIDSS who were always supportive of his endeavors.

Boosting the morale

Barangay New Panay is almost a five-hour ride from Davao City where the delivery of basic social services is hindered due to lack of cooperation from the community.

“The people used to feel demoralized and insignificant since most of them were not able to finish school and were more focused on how to earn and provide for their family. Community work and volunteerism were not their priority,” shared Lyre Divine Balili, Kalahi-CIDSS community facilitator.

For someone who had been the subject of ridicule due to his physical handicap, Rey used his disability to boost the morale of the community. Unmindful of his condition, he set an example by joining barangay assemblies and capacity building sessions.

The residents were then encouraged and inspired by his dedication. They started to become active in their community’s development by helping choose, design, and implement projects that address their most pressing needs through Kalahi-CIDSS.

Rey believed that if he could do it, the people around him will realize that they could do so much more.

After awhile, the villagers started working together, gradually building various successful community projects.

Numerous projects

With Rey at the helm, Barangay New Panay was able to complete numerous projects like the construction of a drainage canal and a community E-library.

A training on embroidery and interior design was also held in the village which benefited 1,389 residents.

“Through Kalahi-CIDSS, Barangay New Panay now has the opportunity to generate more income and establish a school facility for the children in the community,” said Maragusan Mayor Cesar Colina.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa DSWD sa pagbibigay ng oportunidad sa aming mga may kapansanan. Ipinaramdam nila sa mga katulad ko na puwede rin kaming makapag ambag sa aming komunidad (I am thankful that DSWD gives equal opportunities to people with disabilities like me. They opened opportunities for us and they made us feel that after all, we can contribute to the development of our community),” Rey concluded. ###