By Rey Anthony Chiu
Two individual volunteers and two town partners in implementing its community driven development projects of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) went home with special awards tucked in their belts during the Ceremonial Exit of the Kalahi-Makamasang Tugon (MT) held at the Jjs Seafoods Village August 31.
This as the World Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation-funded Kalahi MT marks its final stages of project implementation of the governmentâ€™s flagship poverty reduction program in the 12 towns of Bohol and two towns of Siquijor.
Started in 2003, the project has downloaded funds for local government counter-parting pay-scheme for projects which communities have identified, planned, implemented and monitored to make it a truly Local Government Unit-led community driven development.
Since then too, Kalahi MT project has empowered people from 729 communities with implemented projects ranging from health, education and agricultural facilities, public infrastructure and have considerably easedthe chances of some 70,000 Boholanos and Siquijodnons to move out of the mires of poverty, according to an audio video presentation during the event.
For their very pivotal roles in making sure that identified projects funded by the MT and the LGU are implemented properly, volunteers Samuel Aparece of Panghagban Buenavista and Eugenio Lloren of Lundag Pilar each got special DSWD citations in plaques.
Aparece is DSWD Outstanding Community Volunteer while Lloren is Best performing Indigenous Peopleâ€™s Community Volunteer, announced Maribeth Agbon-Cabalda, DSWD lady of ceremony.
On the other hand, Trinidad and Talibon towns also got each accolades for their pivotal roles in the speedy implementation of MT projects.
Trinidad town, under Mayor Roberto Cajes received the Best in Sub-Project implementation among all 14 Kalahi MT beneficiary towns in Bohol and Siquijor, while Talibon, under Mayor Restituto Auxtero received a special award for accommodating the Kalahi MT with a Bohol Project Management Office.
DSWD Assistant Regional Director Nemia Antipala, in her message during the event challenged the LGUs who have been left with the power to control key development decisions and resource mobilization to hang on tough with the principles of the Kalahi to truly succeed even after the project.
Aside from empowering communities by opening up their access to development decisions, the program also ensures transparency, accountability and community participation, according to Pilar Mayor Wilson Pajo, Kalahi MT beneficiary town in Boholâ€™s third district.