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Fostering a resilient community, building a creek wall

BARANGAY LIÑAGAN, in Maasin Iloilo is no stranger to being affected by flood. It was the constant fear of residents that triggered them to push the construction of a creek wall.

When the Liñagan Creek overflows, it affects the residents, rice fields and farms animals. Yet, these are things of the past now.

Barangay Captain Erlina Senina said residents fear no more when the rain comes after the 180 linear meters long creek wall was completed. “Kon mag-uran subong wala na gabaha (When it rains, it does not flood anymore).” 

Liñagan is one of the major producers of sugarcane and corn in the province of Iloilo. In previous years, agricultural products were soiled in water, thus it affects the farmers’ income.

It was also the foresight of the residents that protected them from experiencing the full impact of Typhoon Yolanda after their worst experience from Typhoon Frank in 2008.

The unceasing fear of being flooded that spurred the construction of the creek wall in 2008 and 2011 when they were given the opportunity to address the most pressing needs of their community through Kalahi-CIDSS, one of the three main poverty alleviation program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

In 2008, portion of the community was not yet covered with the creek wall. Thus, they again prioritized for funding the construction of the creek wall to cover the entire community where waters from Liñagan Creek passes through, making it less prone to flooding.

 “Rako gid to problema namon sang una kay ang mga pamalay nga ginabaha ga-evacuate man lang sa barangay hall diri kanamon, te paano bi kay ginabaha man ang barangay hall. Kabudlay gid (We had lots of problem before since we evacuate the affected households at the barangay hall.  How can we evacuate them when the barangay hall is also flooded),” she said.

Community volunteer, Dionesio Magcanam said they love the creek wall project because it protected them from deluge. “Amo na wara man kami ga duwa-duwa magkid-an kang mga guba (We never hesitated to fix what is broken in the creek wall).”

Magcanam, who chairs the Operation and Maintenance group, said the barangay allotted P10,000 for the maintenance of the creek wall project. Everything is temporary; wear and tear cannot be avoided.

The residents would usually fill in the gaps between the piled rocks with cement and clear the waterways of the debris such as branches of the trees. While residents also plant flowering plants on the edge of the wall as their beautification effort.

Those were the efforts of the community to show ownership of their project by initiating different means to protect and maintain it. They became a resilient community.

With the creek wall, there are no more flooded areas or damaged crops and flooded homes. #

 

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No more barefooted students during rainy season

With the new footpath, school children living along the remote areas along Barangay Igbita and its neighboring barangays need not to go to school shoeless. They can now put on their shoes, walk faster and easier even on rainy days.

Igbita, is one of the remote barangays in the town of Miagao, Iloilo.

Children used to walk down to Igbita-Tigmalapad Elementary School for at least 20 minutes. They experience it every day. During rainy season, trudging through the rocky and unpaved route caused these children to slip and get injured.

Barangay Kagawad Caroline Faura described how difficult it was for the students to go to school during rainy season. “Nabudlayan gid ang mga bata pagpanaw kay ga karandlog sanda. Kapin pa kung ga uran, wara masyado ti estudyante sa eskwelahan (The children find it very difficult to walk through the path because they often slipped especially when it is raining. There are few students that go to school),” she said.

The inaccessible path greatly affected the attendance of the students and their enthusiasm to go to school since they had to walk barefoot just to get across the muddy terrain when it rained. They would rather stay at home, she said.

Aside from the students, the elderly people are also affected. At times, they get into accidents as well. It becomes more challenging because of their frail body and geographical location of the barangay.

The community together with the barangay officials all decided that it was time to find a solution

to their dilemma. They needed to find a way to address this but they do not have enough funds to sustain the project that they wanted.

During the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum of Kalahi-CIDSS, the community presented the need for a concrete foot path for Barangay Igbita. The proposed project was prioritized for funding with a grant of more than P164,000.

The community of Igbita worked hand-in-hand to finish the project. Residents volunteered their free time and services to the project. The men would help pave the road, while the women cooked lunch or snacks for the volunteers. The children also had a role in the completion because even they would help carry some of the materials to the barangay since vehicles are not able to reach the site.

The spirit of volunteerism and bayanihan is truly alive in Igbita, Miagao. There is no hesitation to lend a helping hand rain or shine since they believe that the footpath is their source of hope in the community. Without unity, the project would not have been made possible.

Their cry for help was answered when the concrete foot path was completed. Residents can easily walk to their home safely. While, students can now wear their complete uniforms. They need not to take off their shoes in going to the school.

“Bahol gid ang nabulig kang footpath nga ran. Maskin ga-uran, ang mga bata ga sulod man gihapon sa eskwelahan. Ang mga tigulang makit-an mo kananda ga panaw-panaw dira kon aga kag hapon. Damo gid naka-benepisyo sina labi na gid ang ara sa iban nga barangay sa babaw, Brgy. Tigmalapad kag Matalngon (The foothpath is a big help to us. Now, even when it rains, the children are able to go to school. The elderly can be seen every morning and afternoon strolling there. Many people have benefitted through this project especially the neighboring barangays in the uplands, such as Brgy. Tigmalapad and Matalngon),” stated Faura.

More than just a solution to a problem, the project was also able to empower the locals. Barangay Treasurer, Riza Naragdag, shared her personal experience that developed her holistically.

 “Sang una ko nga pagkapyot kang kwarta kag mga papeles nga kinahanglanon sang proyekto nga ni, wara gid ko sang may namang-an sa akon nga dapat obrahon. Housewife man lang ako. Maayo na lang damo gid ang tawo nga nagbulig kanakon. Nagtuon ko asta sa  nagkama-an ron ko kag naging confident sa akon sarili (When I first held the budget and processed the papers needed for this project, I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do. I am just a housewife. Luckily, there were a lot of people who helped me. I studied and learned until I knew how to do it and became confident with myself),” Naragdag said.

The community has also seen to it that they maintain the footpath. Every once in a while, when the residents see cracks forming through it, they take it upon themselves to fill them in with cement.

The children of Igbita are not the only ones who benefitted from the concrete footpath but whole community as well. This project has eased the lives of the people. #

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BENEPISYO SANG Kalahi-CIDSS PROJECT SA MGA PUMULUYO

Kalahi-CIDSS nurtures the culture and tradition of Bukidnon (Indigenous People) at Barangay Cawilihan, Leon.

#DSWDMayMalasakit
#PatasNaPagtratoSaKomunidad
#MaagapAtMapagkalingangSerbisyo
#SerbisyongWalangPuwangSaKatiwalian
#SamaSamangPagkilosNgMayMalasakit

 

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Floods will sweep us no more

“Experience is the best teacher and the worst experiences teach the best lessons”- Unknown

This saying holds true among the residents of Barangay MabRiz after the community was swept by floods in 2008. The dreadful experiences they had during Typhoon Frank sparred them from Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Philippines that affected the Visayas.

MabRiz is one of the 50 barangays in Maasin, Iloilo. It is near the bank of the river. Waters from Tigum River passes Brgy. MabRiz.  This is why they were greatly affected when Typhoon Frank hit Iloilo.

Three years after Typhoon Frank, residents were given an opportunity to protect their village from flooding through Kalahi-CIDSS.

Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee chairperson Olivia Onday said Barangay Mabriz presented their need for a river wall protection during the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum in 2011.  It was prioritized for funding.

A P2.7 million grant was allocated for the construction of a 415 linear meter river wall protection.

Seeing the urgency of the structure in protecting their community, the community volunteers, residents and barangay officials pooled their efforts and started the construction on April 25, 2011.

The construction of the river wall ignited volunteerism and bayanihan in the community. Each household had their share. It came in form of food and services. Residents were also hired as laborers, to ensure a quality structure against flood.

The river wall project was completed in its target time. Not knowing that another strongest typhoon is coming.

Onday said the river wall protected them from Typhoon Yolanda when it struck Iloilo Province in 2013. Water from the Tigum River remained at bay with its gushing current.  There were no more casualties or damages to the community.

“Peg-Yolanda nahadlok man kami pero wara gid nag-apaw ang tubi. Sadto nga tini-on didto gid namon nakita ang pulos kang river wall (When Yolanda struck, we were scared but the water from the river did not overflow, that was when we truly saw the importance of the river wall),” Onday said.

There were no major obstacles during the implementation. There was sufficient budget for the materials needed and the whole community was proactive in the construction, she said.

 “Tanan gid nagdagyaw sa amon kausa kag nasadyahan gid kami sa mga pumuluyo. Wara gid kananda nagduwa-duwa na maka hatag maskin gamay para lang matigayon ang amon nga river wall (The whole community united to our cause and we were really glad with the residents. They did not hesitate to give even their smallest contribution to help us construct the river wall),” Onday said.

Some households would offer food to the volunteers, simple snacks to help them carry on with work. Others planted flowers or plants to help beautify the place.

The barangay allots P7, 000.00 yearly in their budget to maintain the river wall. They conduct monthly inspections to see it that the concrete wall has no cracks. Whenever they would see some, residents would take it to their initiative to fill them in with cement.

With the installation of this river wall, there was a noticeable difference in the community. There was no more fear for the residents. They are able to now able to sleep soundly at night knowing that they are protected.

EXPERIENCE TEACHES THEM

The outcry of the residents for a protection during heavy rains triggered the construction of the river wall protection project.

Heartrending memories on the adverse effects of the flood brought about by Typhoon Frank were etched in the hearts and minds of residents.

Yvette Tormon, whose house is near the bank of the river, recalled the emotional and physical challenges they had to endure during and after the typhoon.

 “Sang nag-igo ang Frank nabugtawan na lang namon sang mga alas sais kang aga kay tunog ang huni kang suba. Pagguwa namon taas na ang tubi. Dasig lang ang pagtaas kang tubi asta sa nakalab-ot na siya sa busong ko. Te sadto bag-o lang ko kabata, ang baby ko two months pa lang. Gahibi ko ka hadlok samtang ginahakwat ko siya para ka evacuate kami

(When Typhoon Frank hit us, we woke up at the sound of gushing water from the river. It was about 6:00 am in the morning. When we went outside, the water rose quickly. It reached my tummy. I had just given birth. She was only two months old at that time. I was crying for fear while we were evacuating),” she said.

Tigum River which separates the various barangays in Maasin overflew in the midst of the typhoon. It served as a catch basin for the water that came from the upland and with the heavy downpour, the water levels rose and the current was very strong.

It was a nightmare. Only the sound of the gushing water from the swelling river and the cries of the people were heard.

The typhoon left three people dead in MabRiz. The small nipa hut on the other side of the river directly across MabRiz was completely damaged. Farm animals, swine and other poultry birds were washed away.

Tormon saw how a father and his son struggled to survive the flood.  “Ga kapyot siya sa may puno sang kahoy tapos ang bata ya gna kaptan ya sa isa ya pa gid ka kamot. Sang na-utod ang sanga kang kahoy, naanod sila sang tubig. Darwa gid sanda kang bata ya napatay (His one hand was holding on a tree while his other hand was holding his child. When the branch of the tree was cut-off, they were swept away by waters. They both died).”

They were saddened on the death of their neighbors. Thus, residents feared whenever it rained and another flash flood would occur. No one dared to cross when the river is swelling.

The calamity had opened the eyes of barangay officials of Mabriz. It prompted them to come up with a plan- to protect their community from floods.

Barangay Kagawad Ariel Peter Libunao said they are saddened that they could not protect their community from the Natures wrath with the meager Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) they have. The people wanted to construct a river wall.

 “Bal-an namon nga kulang gid ang budget kang barangay. Gahiribi-on na sa amon ang mga tawo kay indi na gid nila gusto ma-agyan ang kasakit nga nabatyagan nila kang Frank (We knew that the barangay’s budget was not enough. The locals cried hard. They don’t want to experience the same pain they had in Typhoon Frank),” he said.

Natural calamities can happen any time of the day but we can always prepare ourselves so that we can avoid casualties. The river wall is the first line of defense from the forces of nature. It is the community’s protection. Preventing not only flash floods but also saving lives in the process.#

 

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BENEPISYO SANG Kalahi-CIDSS PROJECT SA MGA PUMULUYO

People’s cooperation at Barangay Camandag, Leon, Iloilo leads to the completion of the health center.

#DSWDMayMalasakit
#PatasNaPagtratoSaKomunidad
#MaagapAtMapagkalingangSerbisyo
#SerbisyongWalangPuwangSaKatiwalian
#SamaSamangPagkilosNgMayMalasakit

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BENEPISYO SANG Kalahi-CIDSS PROJECT SA MGA PUMULUYO

Kalahi-CIDSS let the people see the beauty of their community despite economic challenges.

#DSWDMayMalasakit
#PatasNaPagtratoSaKomunidad
#MaagapAtMapagkalingangSerbisyo
#SerbisyongWalangPuwangSaKatiwalian
#SamaSamangPagkilosNgMayMalasakit

 

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BENEPISYO SANG Kalahi-CIDSS SA MGA PUMULUYO

The road project hastens the market access of farmers. They can now plant variety of cash crops which could increase their income.
#DSWDMayMalasakit
#PatasNaPagtratoSaKomunidad
#MaagapAtMapagkalingangSerbisyo
#SerbisyongWalangPuwangSaKatiwalian
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BENEPISYO SANG Kalahi-CIDSS SA MGA PUMULUYO

Kalahi-CIDSS promotes gender equality among the residents.
 
#DSWDMayMalasakit
#PatasNaPagtratoSaKomunidad
#MaagapAtMapagkalingangSerbisyo
#SerbisyongWalangPuwangSaKatiwalian
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