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KALAHI-MIBF-PRAThis was the theme chosen for the first ever Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum – Participatory Resource Allocation (MIBF-PRA) of the Kalahi CIDSS NCDDP in the Municipality of Dalaguete. In English, the title would likely sound as “Community Empowerment and Participation, a Way to Poverty Reduction”.

Kalahi promotes the values of People Empowerment, Transparency and being Participatory, thus the chosen theme for the much awaited event. Guided by such values, the activity was meant to promote not only full community participation, through the duly elected representatives of the different barangays, but also to instill a sense of solidarity and compassion with the most needy among our communities. Faced with the multiple needs of the different barangays and the limited resources available, the Forum turned out to be a concrete demonstration of the Dalaguetnons’ capacity to weigh things objectively, based on criteria previously agreed upon, and a manifestation of a shared and deep-seated sense of identity as one “community”. The presentations of the Project Proposal Preparation Teams (PPTs) were definitely a revelation of their artistic talents: songs composed specifically fitted for the occasion, dances, rap, talk shows, short drama and comical skits. They presented their respective sub-project proposals in various creative ways that entertained at the same time informed the assembly about the importance and urgency of their proposed sub-project; they provided a short historical and demographic background and explained the socio-economic impact of the project should it be prioritized. The Barangay Representation Teams (BRTs) from all 33 barangays listened and decided, by way of votes in a written ballot, which sub-projects would be awarded priority and be among the first batch to receive funding from Kalahi.

The MIBF-PRA highlights the “Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) of the Kalahi program. Starting with the Municipal Orientation, wherein the processes and philosophy of Kalahi were explained, Data Gathering and Consolidation, Criteria Setting and Project Proposal Development, down to the Technical Review by the Municipal Inter-Agency Committee, the MIBF-PRA was an exercise in which the communities were placed at the driver’s seat on the road to their own development. There were difficulties along the way: weather conditions, long distances, scarcity of resources, discouragement, impatience, misinterpretations and all other weakness concomitant to the fragility of human nature. But the community volunteers together with their barangay captains persevered it all. Through the leadership, encouragement and support of Mayor Ronald Allan G. Cesante and in no small degree the backing of the department heads and the efforts of the Kalahi teams, the MIBF-PRA was launched and pursued to its intended goals.

The activity caused 15 barangays to rejoice having been ranked to be included within the P20 million grant for the first cycle of implementation. The other barangays not prioritized still have a chance in the 2nd round that will shortly follow. Their proposals could also be endorsed to other funding agencies while waiting for the next cycle. The most important gain that could rightly be claimed is the learning experience from the processes they’ve gone through. Armed with the acquired knowledge and experience, a certain degree of self-confidence and a higher level of social awareness are evident among the delegates as they started back for their homes. The Kalahi program advances on to the next level of activities, leading to the concretization of their dreamed measures for poverty reduction in their communities.

Indeed the MIBF-PRA offered a lot of new experiences and was an eye-opener for all but it is just a part of a continuing process. More challenges still lay ahead but this time around our communities and volunteers are better prepared be it technically or morally. Congratulations everybody!

 

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