When It Rains, It Pours

Water has long been a problem of the residents of Brgy. Magsaysay in the municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte.

For as long as they can remember, residents struggled to get access to water. Some hiked for 3 kilometers to Sitio Dao, a far-flung sitio in the village, to fetch some from a pump. Unfortunately, this was not a reliable source, as it dried up during the dry season, or because of the number of people using it. Others went to another village, Barangay Tawin-tawin, to get water from the wells, either at 3 o’clock in the morning or between 7 to 9 o’clock at night. Still others, those who had more money, paid to have water delivered to their homes.

The arrival of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) in their municipality gave them new hope.

Kalahi-CIDSS is a poverty alleviation program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that aims to empower local communities, improve local governance, and reduce poverty.

The program uses the community-driven development (CDD) approach, in which community residents themselves are trained and empowered so they can identify, implement, and maintain sub-projects that would address their basic service needs.

The eagerness of the community to improve their living conditions was evidenced by their high participation rate during barangay assemblies, which are required by Kalahi-CIDSS. “I was so happy when I heard from my neighbor that DSWD will be helping our community through Kalahi-CIDSS.

When we had our first community assembly, we were united in choosing to propose a project that would help us on our water supply needs,” 69-year-old barangay resident Erlindo Sulapas said in the local dialect.

He continued, “We first suggested a water reservoir sub-project, but the grant allocated to us was not sufficient to finance it. We also had a problem with the water source, so we opted to propose rain water collectors”.

The residents of Barangay Magsaysay sustained their excitement even during sub-project implementation. They pitched in so they can provide snacks to the laborers constructing the water system. When the water tanks were delivered to their community, the people followed a bayanihan system to carry these from the warehouse to the construction site.

“We even agreed that we would buy an additional gutter to collect more rain water drops from roofs because we only have 1 gutter for each tank,” narrated Analyn Barso, a resident and community volunteer of Barangay Magsaysay.

Today, the 19 rain water installers serve as mini-reservoirs for all 156 households in the barangay, which the residents say is a big help for them on their water supply needs.

(I am thankful that we were given rain water collectors by Kalahi-CIDSS because our problem with water supply is now minimized, even during summer),” Analyn said happily.

“Yesterday evening, it rained hard and we have collected almost half of the rain water collector. I was happy because I will no longer have to walk 30 minutes to Sitio Dao to fetch water,” Jun-Jun, a 10 year old boy, cheerfully shared.

“We can now store the water we used to buy because we can already use the rain water collector and save some money. We can use the funds instead for food and for our children’s needs,” expresses Lindo.

As the water pours from the rain collector containers, each villager in Magsaysay is reminded that development in a community can be achieved when empowered community volunteers and residents work hand in hand in achieving their dreams and desires. ###