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NEWS STORY

The CHARMing way to rural dev't in Kapangan, Benguet

 

CrislYN BALANGENยทTHURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2015

Boneng-Amburayan FMR

THE ROAD TO THE HEART OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT

I

t will always be a disaster for farmers and residents in Barangay Pudong, Kapangan, Benguet when the rainy season comes. The muddy trails and frequent occurrence of landslides will yet make life difficult to most, if not all of them.

 

The muddy trails to Pudong, Kapangan make it difficult for the villagers to transport their products to the market. The muddy and slippery trail has always been risky to life and limbs; contributes to the high maintenance of vehicles and a common disaster to the farmers when their harvested crops end up in the market with low prices because of low transport quality or those products were by poor or bad transportation infrastructure.

This road and transport problem is not only confined to Pudong. The same is true with the barangays of Gaswiling, Cuba and Beleng-belis, all coverage areas of CHARMP2 in Kapangan where development interventions seldom come due to poor accessibility. Residents say that before the CHARM2 Project interventions for rural infrastructure development in the barangays, they have to bear with untold accessibility problems.

Access to safe water for households was usually a common concern that is either sourced from the nearest source, water tank, or springs. Some have bought pipes to access water from a source to their homes.

When the CHARM2 Project came, the communities identified their particular need for rural infrastructure development, livelihood, reforestation and agroforestry during the conduct of participatory investment planning (PIP) in their areas way back in 2010. From the PIP priorities were identified, proposed for funding and were finally funded and implemented.

The municipality of Kapangan implemented 11 RID subprojects to include five farm-to-market roads, two domestic water supplies, three multi-purpose warehouses and one footbridge. According to Benguet Provincial Coordination Officer Gabriel C. Pacio, Kapangan conducted the first RID project that was turned-over to the beneficiaries. It is also the first municipality in Benguet to complete the implementation of all RID projects.

A Barangay Participatory Evaluation and Monitoring Team (BPMET) Outcomes Monitoring exercise was conducted in Kapangan on August 2015. In this exercise, the beneficiaries of projects implemented in the municipality were asked to enumerate project investments and generate a list of outcomes and benefits to the community and its members from the implementation of these projects.

Mrs. Carina Guilan, a BPMET president and an elder in Pudong, said they are now enjoying a better road, a more convenient venue for community gatherings and activities, and safer water system in every household among others. To senior citizens like her, access to medical health is now closer when their barangay health center was stationed in the newly constructed Tadayan Multi-purpose warehouse. They can now have regular check-ups.

But it’s not just about the road, the footbridge, the warehouse, or the water supply that made their lives better, but the sense of responsibility that was planted to them along the process which has made them a better community, according to Mrs. Guilan.

Mrs. Guilan would always stand with confidence as she shares her pieces of CHARMP2 stories. “Before, we, women do not really care about how to monitor roads and all that RID projects but when we joined the BPMET and we were trained about how to do the monitoring, I earned the courage to argue and reason with the contractor regarding flaws in the implementation of RID projects in our barangay. I knew better and I am very happy about it,” she would say.

 

FROM BEGINNING TO THE FUTURE

What makes CHARM2 Project unique in its implementation of rural infrastructure development is its charming way to interrelate with the community- to work with them as a family driven by the desire to secure a better future.

The CHARM2 Project banked on participatory approach as a viable strategy to better implement infrastructure developments in the Cordillera highlands. From the very beginning, the project consulted with the community in the identification of their priority needs during the PPIP. That document became the main basis of project implementation of not just RID projects but including all other project components.

Partnership with local government units is yet another feature that further smoothened the flow of RID project implementation. Credit goes to the ever supportive provincial local government unit of Benguet and to the municipal LGU of Kapangan for their counterpart in fund and support that has fulfilled the dreams of the communities.

The word ‘sustainability’ has now come to its limelight as the project draws to its end. What will become of these roads, footbridges, warehouses, DWS when the project leaves?

With the community being actively involved in all stages of the project, it has slowly turning out that the community people themselves are pushing to keep these developments for the future. Kapangan Mayor Roberto K. Canuto once said in his remarks that the active involvement of the community has definitely ignited the spirit of the community.

Much has been done for communities like Kapangan but to keep and sustain it will all depend upon every individual in this rural communities and that is what the project is teaching them all these years.//Crislyn F. Balangen, IKM Officer

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