by Charrie Joy V. Masculino
SAN LORENZO, GUIMARAS – Several schools in the province of Guimaras were built through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS). KALAHI-CIDSS is a program of the national government, where community members are actively involved in identifying and eventually implementing anti-poverty projects. It has various support funding, such as the US government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
When the Yolanda Fund for the KALAHI-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Project (NCDDP) was launched in 2014, the municipality of San Lorenzo was one of the beneficiaries. A fifth class municipality with a population of 26,112 (as of 2015), it was one of the five municipalities in Guimaras affected by typhoon Yolanda. Through the Yolanda Fund, several barangays of San Lorenzo were able to fund priority projects for schools.
In Brgy. Cabano of the municipality of San Lorenzo, the CheckMySchool volunteers were instrumental in convincing the community to prioritize school improvement projects aside from the usual barangay road construction.
Led by Melchor Villarama, chief of Brgy. Cabano and CheckMySchool’s coordinator for the municipality of San Lorenzo, the volunteers went from sitio to sitio to campaign for the prioritization of school improvements. Melchor personally talked to his constituents to allot part of their NCDDP funding for two public schools in need of assistance. He stressed that helping the schools get this funding was their responsibility as part of the community.
“Cabano was allotted the biggest grant among the barangays of San Lorenzo, so I felt it was only right that we used some of this funding to improve our public schools,” said Melchor. Brgy. Cabano had a grant allocation of PHP4.5 million.
Melchor’s hard work paid off. During the Barangay Assembly, his constituents selected as priority schools Doña Lucia C. Locsin Memorial School, which needed the construction of a two-classroom building, and Paaralang Buhay ng Tangaw, which was in need of a one-classroom building and a better water source.
Melchor and the volunteers helped collate and submit the deed of donation and other required documents of Doña Lucia C. Locsin Memorial School to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Office, which eventually approved NCDDP funding for the school. The construction of the two-classroom building in Doña Lucia C. Locsin Memorial School, with an estimated budget of PHP1.3 million, has already been completed.
However, the funding for Paaralang Buhay ng Tangaw was disapproved because of incomplete documentary requirements. But Melchor and his volunteers were not discouraged. They helped locate the school lot donor’s name and coordinated with the Provincial Assessor’s Office to reconstitute the deed of donation. They are just waiting for the required documents for submission to the DSWD Regional Office.
“I am grateful to CMS for empowering my community to prioritize the improvement of our public schools and rallying our constituents to follow up the necessary funding and documentation,” Melchor said.
UPDATE: As of May 9, 2017, CMS volunteers working on Paaralang Buhay ng Tangaw ‘s documentary requirements encountered another issue regarding its lot donations papers. The volunteers and the school are currently working on this to once again complete the requirements for funding.
Edited by: Eric Michael Santos