Conducting a family development session doesn’t seem to be enough. The generous people of this village seems to need more than that.
From his regular visits in Barangay Anonat, Paracelis, Mountain Province, Antonio Ramon Jr or “Tonyang,” DSWD Project Development Officer (PDO) for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya) observed that basic services hardly reach this village. The main reasons ─ distance and lack of transportation. This village is considered as geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDA).
Barangay Anonat is a village in eastern part of Paracelis, Mountain Province. Most of its sitios can be reached using motorcycle or through hiking. “To be able to reach the town center, residents of Barangay Anonat would spend 500 pesos for motorcycle hire,” says Tonyang.
He added that most of the road to this barangay are unpaved, which would change from muddy to rough road depending on the weather condition.
The people of Anonat earn their keep from corn, banana and rice production which they sell in Alfonso Lista, a neighboring town in Ifugao.
They live a simple life. But if there is one thing that they want to improveꟷ it is to keep their health in check, and to be informed on the services of their local government that they can avail.
“For nearly two years working in this village, I’ve seen that services are readily available at the town center but the residents chose not to avail because of the distance and lack of public transportation,” says Tonyang.
It all started from a simple act of service
Wanting to address this issue, DSWD employees deployed in the municipality coordinated with the Municipal Local Government Unit of Paracelis to conduct an outreach program in the barangay. MLGU Paracelis warmly accepted the initiative and through Municipal Administrator Dr. Marcus Ayangwa, some of their personnel were mobilized.
“Dr. Marcus Ayangwa was glad about the proposed activity so he responded positively and immediately for our request to conduct an outreach program,” Tonyang enthused.
Thus, on December 2016, during a family development session, the first outreach program was conducted in Barangay Anonat during the Family Development Session (FDS) spearheaded by DSWD Pantawid Pamilya.
“After our FDS on Financial Literacy, an information campaign of the different services of the LGU followed,” Tonyang continued.
As a highlight of the outreach activity, a medical and dental services was provided by the Rural Health Unit wherein around 140 families who availed of the services.
Tonyang remembers that residents of the barangay cannot stop expressing their gratitude for the services brought in their community. He said that most of the residents could not even remember the last time they visited a doctor.
Dr. Marcus Ayangwa was also elated on the success of the activity. He wished that other LGU employees can participate in such activities to see the actual situation in the community and to practice true public service.
With the good evaluation of the outreach, MLGU Paracelis together with DSWD staff launched efforts to replicate the activity in other areas of the municipality.
Spreading the seeds of service
After a month, their efforts paid off as another outreach activity was conducted in Barangay Bunot wherein around 80 families availed of the services. “Hearing the feedback of the residents of Barangay Anonat, we organized another activity in Bunot,” Tonyang said.
Another outreach followed in four (4) sitios of Barangay Buringal on February 2017. This time, the MSWDO, PNP, RHU, Municipal Civil Registrar, Cooperative Office, CENRO and MENRO, Office of Fisheries and Agricultural Services, Executive Office and Legislative Office joined the outreach and oriented the community about their functions and services.
The outreach also offered on-the-spot NSO Birth Certificate application and laboratory services such as complete blood test and urinalysis.
“The medical and dental services addressed the compliance of Pantawid Pamilya partner beneficiaries to have their check-up once in every 6 months,” Tonyang explained.
He added that while at the communities, LGU officials and employees updated their data on the profile of the barangay.
Sealing it through legislation
“During those outreaches, LGU Officials and employees had a glimpse of the actual situation in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” Tonyang recalled.
The outreaches also gave them insight that this is true public service. Thus, through the leadership of MSWDO Emma Tamang, she suggested to the Sangguniang Bayan that the outreach activity should be regularized.
Municipal Coordinator for Japan Social Development Fund Rey Rimas together with Pantawid Pamilya PDO Joanne Gullunan then drafted a resolution for the regular conduct of the activity. The resolution was deliberated by the Sangguniang Bayan and was finally approved on April 24, 2017.
With the approval of the resolution, provision of services to the GIDA are now conducted bi-monthly. LGU Paracelis are also constantly devising various strategies to allot funding for the activities.
Remaining true to their commitment to bring their services to the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, the municipality conducted outreaches in Sitio Gasilang in Barangay Bantay, Barangay Bacarri, Barangay Palitud. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Jasmin Kiaso