Posted on 30 September 2014.
The construction of the school building is the first step to a brighter future of children in this remote barangay.
Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur – Lack of education remains one of the biggest concerns in the Philippines, particularly for those living in remote villages.
This was a problem that was all too real for the residents of Barangay Man-ilan in this town.
Located almost 20 kilometers away from the main road, Barangay Man-ilan can only be reached by habal-habal (motorcycles for public transport). With this, Brgy. Man-ilan is isolated from the rest of the villages.
“Sa una, gamay lang gyud ang mga estudyante namu (There were only a few students here before),” narrated Nezaida Labrador, a teacher of the Man-ilan Elementary School, which previously consisted of two makeshift classrooms.
“Katung mga naka-enrol diri, kasagaran ga-transfer pud kay kung ga-ulan, matuluan gyud sila kay murag gi-himu-himu lang man ang ilahang room (Most of those who were enrolled here would eventually transfer to other schools because when it rains, students would get wet as they only occupied makeshift classrooms),” she added.
More often than not, grim future awaited the students who did not have the option to transfer schools.
“Ginikanan ang ilahang sitwasyon. Ang uban nga diri gapuyo pero sa laing nga eskwela ga-sulud, mu-baclay pa sa pikas nga baryo kay didtu maayu man ang classrooms (The tendency was for children who could not transfer to no longer attend school, because their parents could see how difficult their situation would be. On the other hand, those who enrolled to another school needed to take a longer route to get to the other side of the village),” Nezaida further narrated.
The introduction of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP) to support Barangay Man-ilan’s implementation of the national government’s Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP) provided the opportunity for the villagers to finally get their own school building.
KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP is one of the poverty-alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It utilizes the community-driven development (CDD) approach to ensure that citizens become actively involved in local decision-making, even as they are provided the opportunity to have improved access to basic social services.
GPBP, formerly known as Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB), is a strategy of the Philippine government for the citizens, particularly the poor, to enable them to participate in the local budgeting process to ensure that programs and services are responsive to their needs.
However, residents were initially hesitant to participate in the process despite the opportunity offered to them through the KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP’s GPBP implementation.
Mamelito Butir, who served as one of the community volunteers in KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP, shared, “Gamay lang gyud mu attend mga anang asembliya sa una. Mga lima, daku na nang dyes katau. Siguro pud, maulaw sila, kahy basig dili sila kasabut (Only a few attended barangay assemblies before. A group of five or ten people was already a significant size then. Maybe they were reluctant to attend because they thought they would not be able to understand whatever will be discussed there),” adding that such was typically how they responded to government projects in the past.
Still, those who showed interest to volunteer in KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP persevered, even though they needed to adjust, as it was a novelty for them to work with their fellow villagers.
“Ang katung problema lang sa una, kana bang syempre ang kinaiya sa tawu nay dili natu mapasabut, pero daghan mi ug kalihukan para mapasabut lang sila (There were times when we cannot understand what our supposed responsibilities were in the project, but we made a lot of effort for them to comprehend and even appreciate it),” said Mamelito.
Men and women of different sectors came together to volunteer and participate in the construction of the classrooms, which had a total cost of P2,572,424.00.
By working together, they were finally able to achieve their longtime dream to have a school in their community.
“Sa kaluuy sa ginoo, gi-succeed da gihapun ang among tumong. Kaayuhan da gihapun sa community. Basta amu silang gipasabut kay naa ta’y proyekto gihatag sa KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDPat GPBP. Kinahanglan mu tabang ta. Tabang lang pud dayun sila (With God’s grace, we succeeded in realizing our objective of working for the welfare of the community. We let the people know that we got our sub-project through KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP and GPBP, and that we as a community need to help each other),” Mamelito related.
Today, a one-unit, four-classroom building sits proudly in Barangay Man-ilan, testimony of the hard work put into by the residents of the village for their children.
“Apan sa pagtukud sa kining classroom, gi-pull out namu ang mga estudyante nga residente diri sa Man-ilan pero enrolled sa mga eskwela sa laing barangay. Kay gusto pud namu magamit gyud nila ang proyekto nga para ilaha. Si na sila mu-baclay sa kalayu (Upon the completion of the classroom building, students who reside in Man-ilan but were enrolled in schools in other barangays were pulled out so they can be enrolled here. We also wanted them to benefit from the sub-project that was built for them, and they no longer have to take a long walk to get to and from school),” Teacher Nezaida said.
The new building is a far cry from the makeshift classrooms of the past, which were insufficient for their needs, as teachers were required to develop a rotating schedule just so they can have the opportunity to use the available classrooms, dilapidated as they may be.
Now, Man-ilan elementary students no longer have to put up with improvised classrooms, especially during the on-set of rainy weather. Consequently, the new facility has encouraged more children to enroll in the village’s primary school, increasing the number of enrolees to 136 at present as compared to less than 100 last year.
What seemed elusive for the present and future students of Man-ilan before has now become a reality, and it is through the efforts of the community people themselves, who have made this possible through their own hard work with the support of DSWD’s KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP.###