BEFORE AND AFTER A far cry from their rusted and tattered houses, poor families of Mabay, Maitum, Sarangani Province are now comfortably living in Kalahi-CIDSS housing, one of the completed projects in Region 12.

KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) spent more than P1 billion for infrastructure projects in the last five years in Central Mindanao, a senior government official reported Monday, as the government is working to extend the World Bank assisted program.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said the funds were used for the construction of  670 community projects since 2014 under Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-A Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Service (Kalahi-CIDSS), a scheme implemented by the agency that helps build capacity of communities to identify, prioritize, budget and implemented their own selected projects.

Of the total budget, Dir. Espejo revealed P969.72 million came from the World Bank’s loan proceeds channeled through DSWD and P46.70 million accumulated local counterpart contributions of residents and local officials from the region’s 17 towns covered by the program.

Citing latest data provided to him, the social welfare agency official reported nearly 350 thousand households, majority of them in isolated areas, benefited the constructions of health stations, school buildings, water systems, post-harvest facilities, farm-to-market roads, bridges, electrifications, livelihood enterprises, drainage systems and other projects proposed for funding of villagers.

“When I was still at the Central Office, I heard a lot of positive stories about the program. It shows only that our government is using peoples’ taxes wisely,” Dir. Espejo noted.

“These community projects are now being benefited by the people themselves,” he added.

Funded by the World Bank, the program utilizes the community-driven development approach, which enables the recipients in targeted poor and disaster-affected municipalities to identify their own needs, collectively implement and manage solutions to these needs. 

Before it was scaled up as country’s national strategy for poverty-reduction in 2014, Kalahi-CIDSS was chosen as one of the awardees of the United States Treasury’s second annual Development Impact Honors Awards, beating over 40 other global development programs.

In Region 12, the program is implemented in the towns of Alamada, Aleosan Bagumbayan, Banisilan, Pikit, and Carmen, in North Cotabato; Isulan, Kalamansig, Lambayong, Lebak, Lutayan, Palimbang, and Sen. Ninoy Aquino in Sultan Kudarat; and Maasim, Maitum, Glan, and Kiamba, in Sarangani. 

The program is set to end on December this year but the Department is working on additional loan from the World Bank to extend and expand the implementation starting 2021. (DSWD-12 / Hilbert T. Estacion, regional social marketing officer)