July 18, 2016
Whenever Bayanihan (roughly means cooperation) is mentioned, what comes to mind is the Iconic image of people carrying their neighbors’ house on their shoulders and literally moving the light material structure to a new location.
In Barangay Lantuyan, Baco, Oriental Mindoro, the spirit of Bayanihan is brought to life with the completion of an evacuation center for the resident Mangyan Alangan community.
Most residents are living near the Karayrayan River, making them vulnerable to flooding: strong winds and rains easily damage and destroy their homes which are made of light materials.
So when the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Mimaropa pitched to the community the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), they decided to construct the evacuation center that will provide safety and shelter during inclement weather.
Kalahi-CIDSS, where the fund used for putting up the evacuation center originated, is one of the core poverty alleviation programs of DSWD that empowers communities to choose and implement projects that address their most pressing needs.
Despite the support from Kalahi-CIDSS, residents remained hesitant and doubtful their capability in running the project.
One example is the warehouse: most of the residents refused to manage it for fear of losing materials on their watch and be forced to pay for the replacement.
But, 60-year old Nori Veron Maliglig has shown courage to man the warehouse all by herself.
Maliglig, the only Tagalog in the Mangyan Alangan community, convinced her adopted tribe to put more faith in the project.
So then volunteers came forward: some became purchasers, others negotiated for the land where the evacuation center will be built and others participated as laborers.
Typhoon Nona ravaged Southern Oriental Mindoro including Baco town last year: yet the community’s volunteers stuck around until the evacuation center was completed.
With the evacuated center project successful, the Mangyan Alangan community of Barangay Lantuyan is now confident to handle more projects supported by Kalahi-CIDSS in the future: a day care center or a protection dike. (LP)