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Thursday, December 21, 2023

DSWD opens community center for indigenous villagers in Agusan Sur

 

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

It is a dream come true for the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Barangay Poblacion in the municipality of Sibagat in Agusan del Sur to have their own community center where they can gather to discuss, plan and conduct various activities.

This endeavor formed part of the government’s effort to end local communist armed conflict by providing an avenue wherein everybody’s voice is heard and that everyone plays a vital role in nation-building.


Barangay Poblacion, which has a total population of 6,328 based on the 2020 Census, has received a sub-project worth P3.7 million under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan - Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office in Caraga.


Punong barangay Kreizthon Falcon, along with other barangay officials, expressed their commitment to upholding good governance and transparency in all their activities.


“With this community center, we are optimistic that the connection between the locals and the government agencies will be strengthened and sustained. It will now be easier for us to convene and plan out our common goals, as this facility is now accessible and is expected to bring us closer together. We just have to continue to collaborate and give our best in whatever we do for the good of our barangay,” underscored Falcon.


The local government of Sibagat, led by Mayor Thelma Lamanilao, emphasized the need for constant collaboration and partnership between the barangays and government agencies to prevent people from being misinformed, deceived and becoming victims of violence caused by the communist terrorist group.


Municipal Planning Officer Edna Perang elaborated on the mutual partnership agreement with the members of the Sangguniang Bayan in the implementation of the programs and services, as well as the activities that will take place at the community center.


“Maintaining peace and order in our barangay is our priority, and ensuring the best interest of our constituents is our duty,” Perang said.


DSWD Field Office Director Mari-Flor Dollaga-Libang, highlighted that similar projects will be replicated in other parts of Sibagat and the rest of the municipalities and city of Agusan del Sur.


“Such sub-project was implemented under the additional financing modality of the program, which aims to address pandemic-induced needs of the modality's covered communities. This will primarily function as an isolation facility for the village's 1,465 households but can also accommodate other activities of the barangay, such as meetings and conferences,” said Libang.


At 186.43 square meters in surface area, the infrastructure has two floors, with the first floor serving as the conference room with a comfort room reserved for persons with disabilities while the second floor is furnished with seven rooms and separate comfort rooms for males and females. 


Meanwhile, apart from the Department's funding, the municipal government of Sibagat also extended nearly P1 million cash and in-kind counterpart funding, while the barangay shared P4,000. 


Both the barangay and the municipal government expressed their gratitude for the services extended to their community through the KALAHI-CIDSS Program. 


Dollaga meanwhile congratulated the community for the success of the sub-project implementation. This, she said, is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the community volunteers and the LGUs to improve the community. 


As the DSWD pushes for the institutionalization of the Community-Driven Development (CDD) Bill, she further urged the LGUs involved to support the Department in this endeavor by taking active steps to localizing the implementation of CDD.


"Through this, not only a handful of barangays are given the opportunity to achieve development by adopting the CDD approach, but also the entire municipality. It would be great if the entire Sibagat town can be empowered through CDD," Libang said. 


"Everyone would know how to run local governance processes through CDD, through which they can be 'agents of change.' And that is the primary goal of the KALAHI-CIDSS Program," Dir. Dollaga added.


Sibagat is closest to the cities of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur; Butuan and Cabadbaran,Agusan del Norte; Tandag, Surigao del Sur; Gingoog, Misamis Oriental; and Bislig, Surigao del Sur, based on their great-circle distance from Sibagat. (JPG, PIA-Caraga/DSWD-Caraga)