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CHARMP2 holds partial phase out in Bakun: Community accepts challenge for sustainability

Bakun, Benguet- The CHARM2 Project conducted the last partial phase out ceremony for its projects in Benguet here last April 26, 2016 by turning over the responsibility for the operation and maintenance of all CHARM2 projects in the municipality.
A total of PhP85.5 million worth of projects were implemented by the CHARMP2 in Bakun benefitting five covered marginalized barangays to include Ampusongan, Gambang, Kayapa, Poblacion, and Sinacbat. The municipality received the highest amount of investments for rural infrastructure projects among the CHARMP2’s covered municipalities in the province amounting to around PhP71 million.
CHARM2 Project Manager Cameron P. Odsey said the partial phase out ceremony emphasizes the need for the community and the local government units to sustain the projects even after the CHARMP2 closes by the end of 2016.
Bakun Mayor Fausto Labinio gratefully accepted the responsibility noting that the projects are directly benefitting the targeted communities and the whole municipality if these are sustained.
Dr. Odsey added that the remaining days of CHARMP2 is committed at tying loose ends to ensure that beneficiaries get the maximum support and benefit they need to enable them to stand on their own.
Partner people’s organizations also shared their commitments during the ceremony. “Mayat abe ay i-adopt kuma di gobyerno nan Barangay Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Team (BPMET) ta itul-tuloy mi ay bantayan di projects sin ili mi (It would be great if the government will also adopt BPMET in the implementation of projects so we could continue to monitor and guard the projects implemented in our areas),” said Jose Decoyna, a BPMET member of Barangay Poblacion.
Mr. Orlando Tokias, barangay councilman of Gambang said they already proposed an ordinance for the institutionalization of the operation and maintenance of farm-to-market road. He added that an annual LGU budget should be conducted by the municipality and barangays starting this year to ensure that the 24-million worth of FMR turned-over by the CHARM2 Project in their barangay alone will be sustained.
“Ituloy mi abe a mulaan danan naipresentar ay mamulaan si kaiw ta esten mi ay maintenaren nan reforestation project mi pati abe din coffee plantations mi under agroforestry (We will continue to plant trees on the presented areas to be reforested for we will do our best to sustain our reforestation project as well as our coffee plantations under agroforestry),” committed Mr. Samuel S. Taligan, barangay councilman of Kayapa.
Bakun also reforested around 228 hectares under the reforestation project of CHARMP2 with a cost amounting to more than 5 million while another 56 hectares under its agroforestry subproject was planted to coffee and fruit trees with a budget of around 1.4 million.
Livelihood interest groups (LIGs) with mostly women as members expressed their utmost gratitude to the Project for the livelihood assistance they received that empowered them to undertake income generating projects. The intervention enabled them to earn on their own as entrepreneurs. “Ad-adu di naadal mi ay membro di LIGs tan idwani et ammu mi ay i-process din camote ya saba ay mula mi ay manbalin si chips. Et say inkami abe ilako ta way pansapulan mi (We’ve learned a lot as members of LIG. Now, we know how to process our own sweet potato and banana produce into chips that we can sell for extra income),” said Mrs. Lidia Valdez, LIG president in Kapaya.
Around 1.2 million worth of livelihood assistance fund (LAF) were provided to 19 LIGs in Bakun to serve as capital for their livelihood activities. Four groups were given PhP100,000 each while 15 others are given PhP50,000 each. Each group will have to manage the fund for a year and pay it back to their respective community financial institution (CFI) and they will also undergo assessment to evaluate their performance. Once passed, the LAF will be granted to their group. As of press time, assessment is still on-going.
On the other hand, the municipal local government unit of Bakun commits to continue monitoring and providing technical assistance to the people’s organizations. Mr. Cornelio Colyong, MPDC said he will recommend inclusion of operation and maintenance of CHARMP2 projects to the annual municipal budget. The Provincial LGU also commits to do the same as long as the POs will cooperate. Provincial Agriculturists Lolita Bentres encouraged all the POs to register to accrediting bodies as this is one of the requirements in applying for government assistance and services.
Communities and the local government units sealed their commitments through a symbolic covenant signing that reminds every stakeholder about their important roles as stewards of the turned-over CHARMP2 projects/ legacies.
The CHARM2 Project also turned-over operation and maintenance tools to each barangay for the maintenance of rural infrastructure projects during the ceremony.// Crislyn Fianza Balangen
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