Inspirational success stories from our partners and beneficiaries

Winning the 'Bayanihan' spirit

Written by Hilbert T. Estacion

Before the sun’s powerful rays flood over the landscape, making way for a new day in the beautiful farming village of Sampao, Mayvel Aquino, 45, and her co-volunteers have completely prepared the needs of their children before going to school. Garbed with their construction helmets, they hurried their way off to the village proper for the construction of the satellite market where Mayvel serves as chairperson of project implementation.

The absence of a local market in Sampao leave villagers with no choice but to spend P60, the roundtrip fare to reach the town’s central market to buy household needs especially for food, fish, rice, and other necessities. For mothers like Mayvel, establishing an accessible market in the village will make a lot of difference in terms of saving time and money.

An empowered community

In the past, Mayvel, together with other volunteers in the village played an important role in the implementation of various Kalahi-CIDSS projects. Their synergized efforts resulted the approval and prioritization of a number of projects in Sampao. In 2014, the volunteers proposed the construction of a satellite market. It was approved and funded under DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS Program amounting to P1.97 million benefiting a total of 442 households in Sampao. The village also established a day care center rehabilitation project amounting to P500,000 benefiting some 1,391 residents in the area. In 2016, Mayvel and village volunteers led the subproject management team for the construction of an academic and social hub amounting to P1.33 million and benefiting 451 households in Sampao. In 2017, the group also led the implementation of P1.5 million project for the construction of drainage line canals benefiting 442 households in the barangay.

Rekindling bayanihan

In 2016, Mayvel formally organized a group of volunteers in the village dubbed as United Volunteers for Community Progress (UVCP).

Established as a partner of local development initiatives in Barangay Sampao, the group is composed of Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers. They represent various sectors in the village and are united by three common goals: to help improve the well-being of villagers; encourage the participation of various sectors in development programs; and improve the delivery of coordinated social services.

The organization partners with both DSWD and the LGU in designing citizen monitoring initiatives to empower and foster active citizenship at community levels, and build partnerships between citizens and the government in the practice of social accountability.

The group has an important role in providing a platform for coordination, collaboration and cooperation between community residents and the LGU to deliver basic social services and implement development initiatives with transparency and accountability.

Institutionalizing a community-driven development approach, UVCP has initiated various projects and initiatives for the residents of Sampao in Isulan. UVCP has so far accessed a total of P5.30 million in funds and successfully implemented several projects through volunteerism.

UVCP helped manage the project execution and promoted the sustainability of the projects completed in Barangay Sampao.

The Sampao Satellite Market is one of the most unique mechanisms for sustainability in Region XII. It serves as a benchmark for other projects in the region because a certain percentage of its annual income goes to social responsibility projects and initiatives, particularly social services.

From its annual income, they have agreed to allocate P50,000 to fund proposed projects of the surrounding puroks. Each purok is given a chance to present its project through an inter-purok forum. Projects are approved without intervention by politicians or elected officials.

For 2019, some of the projects funded through the annual income of the satellite market include the grating of honoraria for a teacher in Bonita Elementary School, school fencing, and the procurement of water dispensers and monobloc chairs.

Community Initiative

UVCP has initiated a MAKABAKA or May Kapansanan Bantay Kalikasan Project, involving persons with disabilities (PWD) in Sampao to become partners in environmental protection.

A total of 46 PWD members are actively involved in the project. They have received trainings on solid waste management, clean up drives, waste segregation, and other worthy community endeavors.

The UVCP also sponsors the education of poor but deserving elementary, high school and college students of Sampao. This is in partnership with the Overseas Filipino of the barangay. The group also conducts a tree planting activity to commemorate the birthday of each member.

Community involvement

Attendance and participation of the residents in barangay assemblies is an indication that they are interested to know the development efforts being undertaken in the community.

The UVCP endeavors to make Sampao development activities well participated to eliminate elite capture in decision-making and local governance. The UVCP understands that the empowerment of people through participation in community activities is a human capital investment of equal importance to the success of every project in the community. The group is considered the main driver of the high rate of community participation in the municipality.

For every project, the villagers are involved and given access to and control of development decisions and resources. They have mobilized their capacity to analyze their own needs, manage resources, and find appropriate interventions. In the process, people have developed a strong sense of ownership with regard to the development of their village.

The UVCP teaches that transparency is not just informing the community about the status of every project. It also means making people understand the decision-making process. The group also emphasizes that everyone is accountable and responsible for every action that affects their association and their projects.

Transparency, according to Mayvel Aquino, President of UVCP, is an obligation to share information to the citizens. She maintains the value of being transparent in every transaction. She believes that an informed community is able to assess the operation of the project and prevent corruption. The UVCP helps ensure that there is a mechanism to be open through a clear disclosure of information, rules, plans, processes and actions which allows good and just regulations.

Volunteerism wins

It is no wonder why UVCP has been chosen as the 2017 Regional Winner of Bayani Ka! Awards for Best Sustained Community Group. Awarded by the DSWD, this award recognizes outstanding community volunteer organizations such as the UVCP and their role in nation building.

Mayvel woke up early one day not to monitor projects of their barangay, but to travel more than 1,600 kilometers from their village to Manila, the country’s capital, to receive a national award.

This time, the UVCP was recognized by DSWD at the Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan (PaNata Ko sa Bayan) Awards Salamat Po Awards for Best Volunteer Group. Indeed, UVCP’s contributions to DSWD programs, community volunteerism and on-going advocacy for community-driven development is a model worthy of emulation nationwide.


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