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What's Keeping James Punctual?

Four-year-old James Jerald Balanes wakes before his older siblings. He starts his day by serving as the alarm clock of his family. By seven o’clock, he is ready for another day in school.

 James, who lives with his family in Minalabac, Camarines Sur, is known for his punctuality at school. This was new to his parents, especially with his renewed zest to attend his classes.

His mother, Jennlyn, said that after her son transferred to their new classroom last September 2012, it seems that James became more interested and engaged in studying.

 “Siya na ang nagsasabi sakin na paliguan at bihisan na siya. Ayaw niya kasing umabsent kahit isang araw [He always reminds me to bathe and dress him for school. He does not want to be absent even for just one day],” Jennlyn said.

 Even at the age of four, James has developed a strong sense of responsibility. Gina Cilot, James’s teacher, said that he regularly goes to school 30 minutes before class starts.

“He goes to school early. He would even join his classmate’s  parents if his mother is not able to bring him to school,” Teacher Gina added.

James Jerald Balanes (right), four years old, is one of the students of the newly constructed Kalahi-CIDSS daycare center in Barangay Irayang Solong, Camarines Sur

James Jerald Balanes (right), four years old, is one of the students of the newly constructed Kalahi-CIDSS daycare center in Barangay Irayang Solong, Camarines Sur

The advent of the new daycare center to Barangay Irayang Solong paved the way for more opportunities, not only for James, but also for other preschoolers. She said that it is accessible and conducive for learning emphasizing that its location is safe for the pupils to play in.

Hindi na ako nag-aalala para kay James kasi alam ko na ligtas siya dun. Malawak ang playground at malinis ang kapaligiran [I do not have to worry about James because I know it is a safe place for him to stay in. It has a big playground and the surroundings are clean ],” Jenlynn said.

James said that it is better to study in their new daycare center because it is beautiful. He likes the wooden tables and chairs with polychromatic paint and always looks forward to the daily feeding program at school.

The daycare center in Irayang Solong is one of the subprojects of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS). It is a multi-funded project of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It currently covers all provinces in the Bicol region.

Kalahi-CIDSS is a community-driven development (CDD) Project in the Philippines which strongly advocates the involvement of local communities in the design and implementation of development projects to address the issue of poverty in the country. It aims to improve local governance by promoting the participation of the people throughout the development process.

As a group, community residents decide on what type of poverty-reduction projects they should prioritize for funding based on the collective analysis of their needs. They then draft a proposal following their identified project. Community proposals can vary from public goods/access projects, enterprise or livelihood projects or human development projects.

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the core programs of DSWD, along with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). These make up the Tatsulo, the Convergence strategy of the epartment that aims to create a greater impact in reducing poverty in the country.

 The Balanes family is part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, with three of the four children serving as beneficiaries of such.

 “Laking pasasalamat naming mga magulang na nagkaroon ng ganitong mga proyekto. Isa ang aming barangay na nagkaroon ng magandang proyekto para sa mga bata. Malaki ang tulong ng mga proyektong ito [We parents are very thankful that we have these kinds of projects. We are privileged to have our village receive this beautiful sub-project for our children. This is a big help to us],” Jennlyn said.