CBDM journey of Barangays San Ildefonso and Dilaguidi in Aurora
Barangay San Ildefonso and Barangay Dilaguidi are communities facing the Pacific Ocean. Hazards affecting these communities include typhoons, storm surges, tsunamis and development aggression such as eco-tourism and mining in the mountainous areas.
There is low awareness on the possible impact on the communities of development projects such as eco-tourism and mining. Because of the lack of awareness and skills to prepare for impending hazards, the communities were given orientations and trainings.
In Brarangay San Ildefonso, Alay Bayan- Luson, Inc. (ABI) conducted Barangay community-based management (CBDM) training, disaster risk reduction (DRR) training, forest management, sustainable agriculture training, and sloping agricultural land technology (SALT) training. ABI also gave away eco-bags containing flashlights, rain boots, life vests, transistor radios, survival ropes, umbrellas, and medical kits. The community also planted trees.
Except for the tree planting, the same activities were also conducted in Barangay Dilaguidi.
These activities were funded by Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH), a humanitarian organisation from Germany.
Other stakeholders of the project included women, indigenous peoples, fisherfolks, farmers and the elderly. They became members of the Disaster Preparedeness Organizations (DPOs) formed during the project.
The project started in 2008 and lasted for three years.
In San Ildefonso, when there were impending hazards, the DPO members gave out early warnings to the whole community and gathered data determining the extent of the damage after hazards struck. They were also active volunteers in the distribution of relief goods and other aid from NGOs, GOs, church people and other individuals.
The DPO members also spread what they learned from the trainings and their activities to other community members, especially to those living in the remote parts of the barangay.
One of their good practices was putting up and managing a rice store (bigasang barangay) with the starting capital coming from goods from food for work they received.
Benefits they gained through community efforts led them to take higher initiative in helping others in need, and also in engaging in activities beneficial to the whole community.
In times when ABI couldn’t extend support, the DPOs reach out and coordinated with the LGUs for the assistance their communities needed. Because of the positive impact of the project, the BLGU and LGU recognised the existence of the DPOs and became supportive of their activities. As their counterpart, they shouldered the training venues and accommodations of the trainers and project staff.
The BLGU at LGU also stood by the DPO and community in their fight against the project Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO)
because they understood the negative impact it would have on the lives and livelihood of the locals.
All project activities were coordinated with the Provincial Government, the Municipal Government and Barangay Officials through courtesy calls made by ABI staff. In each of these visits, ABI explained the project’s objectives and importance and the organisation’s program for the community people.
The primary beneficiaries of this project were the most vulnerable sectors. They were prioritised in trainings because they need capacity-building the most, especially in disaster preparedness. Leaders and members of DPOs came from these sectors.
Participants of activities were mostly composed of women. With the men usually away for work to provide for their families, women took on the
responsibilities for the project. Recognising their capacities and contribution to the communities, the indigenous peoples also participated in the activities and became members of DPOs.
The only adjustments the project staff had to make during project implementation were the scheduling and rescheduling of activities whenever there were weather disturbances.
Even long after the project concluded, the DPOs continue to conduct community meetings, give early warnings and gather data whenever there are calamities. The DPOs continue to coordinate with the BLGU and ABI.
Generation of resources was done based on the need of the organisation (solicitation and contribution of members). Since 2011 when the project ended, to the present, consultations are done continuously especially when they are confronted with issues concerning livelihood and safety.
The capacities of the people to lead, to coordinate with various agencies, and to share their knowledge and skills, especially their time and dedication to perform their tasks for the organiation and the community as a whole greatly increased.
They became more firm/resolute and ready to face hazards, especially issues that concern their security and livelihood.
Organising is still the best way to ensure that a project succeeds and continues. Treating community people as partners rather than as beneficiaries and involving them in all phases of the project implementation - from planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation - gives them ownership of the project and the dedication to sustain all components, even after the project has ended.