Kolambugan mother personifies volunteerism
Meljoy Cabatuan, 27, of Barangay San Roque, Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte is married to Jako, 31, with whom she has a son with – Jan Mark, 7, an incoming second grader.
Meljoy is a former volunteer of the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI CIDSS) Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (KKB). She now works as a staff of Municipal Coordinating Team (MCT) of the Municipality of Kolambugan.
“Gi-elect mi niadtong Barangay Assembly sa San Roque, ang community sub-project sa KALAHI CIDSS-KKB mao ang Copra Dryer with Warehouse nga mibalor og 1.14M, nagsugod ako isip volunteer sa project preparation team hangtod gi-elect ko sa akong mga kauban sa komunidad isip Barangay SubProject Management Committee chairperson (BSPMC) (We were elected during the Barangay Assembly at San Roque, our community sub-project in KALAHI CIDSS -KKB was the Copra Dryer with Warehouse amounting to 1.14 Million, I started out as a volunteer in the project preparation team until I was elected as the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee chairperson)” enthused Meljoy.
Kolambugan and the Community-Driven Development
The fourth class Municipality of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte is home to some of the region’s champions of community-driven development. Kolambugan is taken from a word “Kolambog”, a kind of tree that grew abundantly in the area.
Kolambugan’s main source of income comes from Agriculture where 54% of the entire area of the municipality is utilized for agricultural purposes, commercial and service centers, and the fishing industry.
Kolambugan is situated along the Panguil Bay area facing Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental and is 47 kilometers west of the capital town of Tubod.
KALAHI CIDSS-KKB started it all for Kolambugan, and a Memorandum of Agreement in 2014 between the Province of Lanao del Norte and the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 10 (DSWD-10) KALAHI CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP) sealed the assurance of the delivery of social services in seven towns in the province. Among the towns included in the expanded NCDDP are Kapatagan, Lala, Magsaysay, Kolambugan, Matungao, Kauswagan, and Tagoloan.
According to the KALAHI CIDSS 2014 database alone, there are 6,640 Households covered by KALAHI CIDSS including projects under the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) and Australia Aid-Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (AUSAid/DFAT) with 704 individuals trained in the aspect of Community-Driven Development.
KALAHI CIDSS brought in 111 community sub-projects from 2012 to 2016 amounting to P67,391,692.00. The NCDDP brought in 29, 11 of which are on-going (2016), community sub-projects from 2012 to 2016 amounting to P35,700,750.00; the PAMANA modality poured in 78 sub-projects from 2012 to 2015 amounting to P23,400,000.00; and the AUSAid/DFAT brought in 4 amounting to P8,290,942.00 from 2015 to 2016.
Meljoy’s journey with volunteerism was not always a bed of roses, she revealed that when she was starting out as a volunteer, her husband had hesitations “nabaguhan akong bana, sa wala pa ko na-volunteer naa ra gyud ko sa balay – plain housewife, magbantay bata, maghikay, katong time na namo, magtraining, magmeeting, nabaguhan gyud siya ug miabot gyud ang panahon nga nag-aksyon mi og lalis, gipasabot nako siya unsa ang among mga natunan, nadawat ra man pud niya, hilabi karon kay na MCT na ko, (my husband felt left out, before I became a volunteer I was just a housewife, taking care of our child, cook but when it was our time to volunteer, there were trainings, meetings, he really felt left out and there was a point that we argued, I explained to him what we learned and he accepted that especially now that I’m now an MCT staff).”
As a BSPMC chairperson, Meljoy was in-charge of managing and supervising the project implementation and was a recipient of the pre-implementation and other trainings provided for volunteers. “Ako ug akong bana karon, naa gani mi lalisan – dali ra mauli-an, nakita sad niya akong dedication sa trabaho (Me and my husband now, whenever we have arguments – it gets resolved quickly, and he saw how dedicated I am to my work) enthused Meljoy.
“Kabalo na ko sa finance nga aspect, kabalo na ko unsaon pagcompute nila, sa engineering pud, kabalo na ko unsa nang POW (Program of Works), sa una man gud, di mi kabalo unsa nang POW, wa pa gyud mi kakita og POW sa wala pa mi na-volunteer (I know now some aspects of finance, I know how they compute, also on engineering, I know now what is a POW, because back then, we did not know what a POW was, we never saw what a POW looks like before we became volunteers)” says Meljoy.
“Dili nako ingon nga maulaw, kabalo na ko mu-adjust sa mga lainlain nga kinaiya sa mga volunteers nga among ma-encounter, sa una maulaw man gyud ko muatubang sa tao (I’m not shy anymore, I know how to adjust to the different behaviors of the volunteers we encounter, before, I really don’t have confidence in facing people), continued Meljoy.
Meljoy emphasized that the projects before KALAHI CIDSS were fully implemented and supervised through the local government unit and that they didn’t have any participation on such projects.
According to Meljoy “dako kaayo og tabang ang KALAHI CIDSS, kay na hatagan og gahom ang katawhan nga maoy magdumala sa mga proyekto, kabalo na sila magpakabana sa komunidad, karon nagkahiusa gyud ang tanan para sa KALAHI CIDSS nga programa, makahisgut-hisgut na sila karon unsay angay buhaton (KALAHI CIDSS really helps a lot, people now are given the power to manage and supervise projects and they know now how to participate and care for the community, they now unite for the KALAHI CIDSS program, they talk about things that really need attention).”
Meljoy further explained that it is participation, empowerment and transparency that underscores the power of Community-Driven Development (CDD) and recommends that this concept should continue “mapadayon gyud dapat, lahi ra gyud kay sa mga LGU project, kay sa KALAHI CIDSS ang komunidad gyud ang mudumala, so kailangan sa umaabot nga mga projects ang konsepto sa CDD gyud ang sundon ug ang polisiya sa KALAHI CIDSS bisan sa LGU projects (this should continue, it’s very different from that of the LGU projects, with KALAHI CIDSS it’s the community that manages, in the upcoming projects – we should follow the CDD concept and KALAHI CIDSS policies even if these are LGU projects).”
Meljoy concludes by encouraging those who have not participated in any KALAHI CIDSS activity “kung muabot sa inyong munisipyo o barangay ang KALAHI CIDSS, mutambung gyud ug maminaw gyud mo aron makabalo mo unsa gyud and tumong ug tinguha sa maong programa (if KALAHI CIDSS reaches your municipality or barangay, join and listen in during the activities that you may know the purpose and objectives of the said program).”
KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP is one of the three poverty alleviation program, along with Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Sustainable Livelihood Program, of the Philippine Government being implemented by DSWD that aims to empower communities of targeted municipalities to achieve improved access to services and participate in more inclusive local planning, budgeting, and implementation.
Community-Driven Development refers to an emerging approach in community development practice where processes, principles, strategies and resources are applied to ensure community empowerment by giving the people authority and control over decisions and resources. ###