Stories of building back better after Yolanda, told by ADB Consultants & Partners

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Community Consultation & Project Orientation: Barangay San Miguel, Balangiga, Eastern Samar

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04MAR15. It started as a bright sunny day, that became gloomy and rainy, but there was no stopping Barangay San Miguel, Balangiga Eastern Samar. This was the first of such community-level consultation prior to implementing the various interventions by Plan International, funded by JFPR Grant 9175!

Barangay level. This is that next gathering after the Municipal Consultation. What were discussed here? The details of all interventions planned for the community such as: 1) that there will be a construction of a 2-classroom building aside from that already in progress handled by DSWD; 2) that there will be Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT) to qualified beneficiaries; 3) that will be a Cash For Work (CFW) Program implemented; 4) that there will be enterprise development programs; 5) that there will be tools and inputs for farmers and fisherfolk; 6) that some out of school youth will become scholars; 7) that there will be DRR training for adults; and 8) a separate DRR training for the younger boys and girls... and so on!

And the enthusiastic discussions ensued per topic! We did notice that there seemed to be a pervading jealousy between the fisher group and the farming group. Every item covered would somehow land into one group (farmers or fishers) actively loudly trying to discredit the other. Even if a legitimate concern of other sectors with few members (e.g., sari-sari store owners, market tinderas, peddlers, pedicab drivers, barbers, carpenters etc) would be surfaced that they are being left out, the last debate had always been between farmers and fishers!

Up until the 'lively' meeting was adjourned where a few residents were requested to remain as they would form a committee along with the teachers, barangay officials and the youth, the farmers and fishers were still at it. I heard a woman tell her groupmates, "ayaw kita palugi, kinahanglan usa ha aton member hit nga committee" [let's not be left out, we must have at least one member in that committee] - for which the CDF was actually trying to insist, but they were not listening earlier on :)

An interesting quote I captured as the debates were in progress... "tanan ito hira nga fishermen tagduruha na hin baloto" [all of them fishermen already have two boats each]! To which the concerned group answered with something like sacks of rice seedlings, tractors, etc. in their "counter claim"! A bit delicate of a situation, but I found it amusingly exciting - as I knew the Plan staff present could handle the situation well - which they did!

Aliw!


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