People in unity look forward to work towards a common goal instead of satisfying their own selfish motives. The people must understand that solidarity is of utmost importance for society. It is not only for development, but this also serves as a source of motivation which encourages people to reach their goals. This is what the people of Butbut tribe, from the province of Kalinga, illustrated.
In August 2021, the Municipality of Tinglayan entered into an agreement with DSWD Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region to implement the Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services National Community Driven Development Program-Additional Financing (KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP-AF). A program that is geared on empowering communities through participation and inclusivity during planning, implementation, and sustainability of development projects.
The community of Barangay Butbut Proper came together and identified the “Construction of Slope Protection” as their priority need. It aims provide protection to the school building and nearby houses from possible soil erosion.
Before its construction, several capability building activities were conducted for the community volunteers who were tasked to manage the project. Upon award to the most eligible bidder, the project was set to start on the 16th of June 2022. And while it hasn’t started yet, they already met several challenges.
The months of June to November is considered as the wet season in the Philippines. In this few months alone, it would be raining up to three days weekly in the municipality of Tinglayan. This caused several landslides in the area which resulted to road obstructions, and also a muddy and slippery road – hindering the delivery of the materials.
To monitor its implementation, Area Coordinator Unica Dionisio, paid a visit to the barangay. During her visits, the community volunteers mentioned that despite several follow-ups, the contractor has not delivered any of the materials yet. The contractor’s representative explained that aside from the road closures, they were having problems with the boulders needed.
The community volunteers continuously communicated with the contractor and also updated the Municipal and the Area Coordinating Team (ACT) on the status of the delivery. Due to non-availability of phone signal-they would have to personally update the ACT at their office located in Poblacion, which is an hour away from their barangay. Aside from the distance and road closures, they personally shouldered the motorcycle hires which would amount from Php 1,000.00 – 1,400.00.
While waiting for the delivery of the materials, the community conducted a meeting to come up with strategies to fast-track the construction so they could finish the project before the deadline. They then agreed that once the materials are delivered, they will be conducting a bayanihan, a cultural practice whereby the community members would work hand in hand to finish the project.
Aside from the road closures, another problem that was raised by the contractor is the availability of his workers to get to the area. With this, Wonie Sangngangao, together with the members of the Onga’ Ababwhujug Association, re-organized a labor force within the community to implement the project. Whereby, the contractor agreed to hire the organization as the labor group to implement the project. In addition, six members of the Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina (KALIPI) and two Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries joined the workforce.
In the second week of August 2022, the materials were finally delivered at Butbut Proper. With the newly created labor group, the implementation immediately started. Hand in hand, they formed what seemed to be the longest line of haulers ever seen in their barangay.
“Maaramid ti maaramid uray awan sahod, dayta ti Bayanihan.” (The work will be done even without compensation- that is what Bayanihan is all about) shared Lorenza Baccoy, Barangay Development Council-Technical Working Group (BDC-TWG) Chairperson, also a KALIPI member.
With the spirit of bayanihan, they were able to complete the project in the 2nd of September 2022 and was successfully turned over to the barangay after its inspection. Six months after, a Sustainability Evaluation Test was conducted to check on its functionality and operationability.
“Mayat ta diyay bayanihan nga naaramid idi ket kasla naitultuloy itadta iti panag aywan idiyay project, mayat gamin iti bayanihan nga nainsigudan nga aramid iti umili, ipatibker na iti urnos iti agtutubo. Makita iti willingness ti bawat tao kasi banuren da ti sakripisyo ken iti umunay una ket diyay masagrap da nga ited diyay nga project.” (The bayanihan that was done has contributed to the way the community takes care of the project. It is a really great practice of the indigenous peoples because it strengthens the order of the community. The willingness of the people to take care of it is ignited because they value their sacrifices [and contribution] for its success and the benefit they get from the project.) shared Sangngangao, an active member of the Onga’ Ababhujug Association.
Baccoy also added that the community willingly provides for whatever is needed during the conduct of cleaning and maintenance of the project. Whether it be the materials or additional food for the workers. She also mentioned that because of this, the community is inspired to take care of the project and ensure its sustainability.
It wasn’t an easy journey for the community and the barangay officials of barangay Butbut Proper. But the challenges they have faced in communication, transportation, and construction of the project has awoken the spirit of bayanihan in their hearts. A practice that ignites unity and cheerful heart in taking care of not just the projects implemented in their community-but of each other. #DSWD FO CAR, Unica D. Gomgom-o and Eden Faith S. Fataner.