Tourists and excursionists alike endure three hours hike to see the majestic Fuwaas Falls sitting atop the mountains of Belwang in Sadanga, Mt. Province. To the residents, it is more than an attraction and pride as the water that flows through it is the same that sustains their livelihood.
“Nu summer, kanayon nga mapan dagiti lalaki nga mangi-kabiti iti bat-bato tapnu ngumato iti danum nga magna idiyay irigasyon.” shared Antonette Pindusan, a community volunteer.
According to Antonette, it had long been a routine for them to head to the site every summer to build a temporary riprap to divert the water towards the irrigation canal that passes through the rice paddies of Barangays Belwang, Bekigan, and Poblacion. And every time heavy rain or typhoons hit the municipality, rocks would be carried away by the strong river current. When this happens, the men would have to go back to the site, reachable through an hour and a half hike, and rebuild the riprap to keep the water flowing.
Due to the geographical location and strong river current, oppositions to the possibility of building the diversion dam at Sitio Toktok is inevitable. But to the majority, the safety of their family and their very source of income is what united them to push forward and finish the project they have longed for.
Through the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (KALAHI-CIDSS KKB) Program, the diversion dam was identified as their priority sub-project in December of 2021. The project received a funding of Php 855,958.89 grant from DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS Program and Php 45,000 from the Local Government Unit of Sadanga.
With the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach, the program aims to empower communities to participate and be involved in the implementation of government projects towards community development. For its attainment, community volunteers were selected to head the different committees who will be playing a vital role in the implementation of the project. Men and women alike, including the older persons. Among the committees that was created is the procurement committee, which ensures the proper procurement for the materials and services needed for the sub-project. And the Project Monitoring Team, which ensures that all materials delivered are complete and up to standard. Status of fund utilization is also being presented to the community to ensure Transparency.
Series of trainings were provided to the community volunteers. This includes preparation of project proposals, technical documents, government procurement procedures, financial management, and the operations and maintenance management of the sub-project. With the assistance of the local government officials of Sadanga, Barangay Belwang, and the staff of the DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS Program, the community volunteers headed the preparation to post implementation activities and greatly contributed to the successful completion of the diversion dam. Disregarding their social status, each household committed to join the labor group that carried the materials to the project site. With their unity, the construction of the diversion dam that was started in April 29, 2022 was completed in July 21 of the same year.
“Mayat en iti turog mi itadta, ta uray nu ngumato diyay danum ken napigsa iti tudo, amu mi nga tuloy tuloy ti danum nga agay-ayos idiyay irigasyon. Haanen nga basta basta nga madadael diyay dam.” shared Ms. Pindusan. (We can now sleep peacefully despite heavy rains, because we know that the dam will be able to withstand it and the water will continuously flow through the irrigation canal.) #DSWD FO CAR, Social Marketing Unit, Eden Faith S. Fataner.