DavOr’s Program for the Poor Reaches Out to 50 Villages in One Year

DAVAO ORIENTAL— Slightly more than a year since the start of its implementation, the Provincial Government-initiated program Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental (NLD) Barangay Outreach Caravan (BOC) has already served a total of 50 villages here that are seldom reached by government services.

During the caravan’s fellowship dinner on December 5 in Manay town, which convened all participating government agencies and offices, an overwhelmed Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang thanked everyone who took part in bringing genuine services to the poor constituents of Davao Oriental within the past year.

Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang

“I sincerely thank you all for being one with the Provincial Government in our efforts to bring peace and development in the hinterland communities. We could not have done it without your help and support,” said Governor Dayanghirang as he salutes the representatives of the more than 40 provincial offices and national government agencies who, amidst the exhaustion and risk of dangers in going to conflict-vulnerable areas, have left the comforts of their offices to join him in the effort of bringing government services right in the people’s doorsteps.

“Life of the poor in hinterland villages is hard,” a teary-eyed Governor Dayanghirang said, adding that the presence of violent armed conflicts make it even harder for these areas to develop as it discourages opportunities to come in or investors to put up businesses – a situation prompting the Governor to devise a program that can boost the people’s confidence to the government while understanding their plights and identifying ways the government can address these problems quickly.

A flagship program of Governor Dayanghirang which brings various government services closer to the people, the NLD Outreach Caravan has already served at least 157,565 beneficiaries in 50 villages here since November 2016.

Aiming at reaching out more poor constituents, Governor Dayanghirang is eyeing to cater at least 100 more villages by next year. In doing so, he urged everyone to double their efforts as the province envisions of catering as many people as possible.

IMPACTS

Over the past year, the outreach caravan has created both small and big impacts on people’s lives.

Farmers who are provided with free seedlings, fertilizers, and farming implements are starting to plant their crops. Those who have availed free medical services, medicines, eyeglasses and even minor surgeries have expressed their thanks as they cannot afford to avail these services in private hospitals or clinics. Beneficiaries who have registered on health insurance and social security; applied motorcycle licenses, marriage and birth certificates; availed legal consultation and employment services,  among others, say they are grateful for having been spared of the hassle and the cost of going to the economic center to avail such services.

Persons with Disabilities who are among the most marginalized sectors are availing free assistive devices and are registered to the PWD list, making them entitled to sundry of welfare benefits.

The caravan has also become a venue to various advocacy campaigns that bring awareness to the community in the fight against drugs, in protecting the environment, in making communities disaster-resilient, in advocating for road safety, and in countering violent extremism.

Meanwhile, conceptualized to address deep-seated poverty at the grassroots level, the outreach caravan has also become a venue to identify the communities’ most urgent and long-term needs. Among them is the improvement of road conditions in far-flung barangays which the Provincial Government always strives to address.

Governor Dayanghirang explains that the Provincial Government makes effort to allocate budget to improve road connectivity in far-flung areas to the economic center in order to ease transport of farm crops, goods, and primary commodities.

During the most recent outreach caravan held in the villages of Rizal, Capasnan, and Lambog in Manay town on December 4 and 5, the governor vowed to complete the road concreting project to Barangay Capasnan by next year. This road will be extended to the next village of Rizal up to the farthest village of Taocanga in the following years. “Gradually, we will finish all these road projects as we recognize your dire need in terms of accessibility,” he said, noting that this project will provide residents respite from decades of enduring poor road conditions.

A STRATEGY FOR PEACE

More than a vehicle for the delivery of government projects, free goods and services, the outreach caravan has been touted as an effective strategy in the province’s peace and development efforts.  

Lt. Col. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado and Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Commanders of the Philippine Army’s 67th and 28th Infantry Battalions, respectively, say that the outreach caravan has been resulting to notable impacts on the peace situation here. Complemented by the Philippine Army’s Community Support Program (CSP), the outreach caravan, they say, has helped in “shoving communist insurgents away and in successfully drawing in more rebels to surrender to the government”.

Since its implementation about a year ago, the Provincial Government’s outreach caravan has made Davao Oriental’s poor constituents feel the government’s presence and care. Over time, it has seen government agencies’ capacity to converge, pool resources, and work together seamlessly in an effort to bring services to those who need it. From merely 27 agencies at the start of the program implementation, it has grown to more than 40 agencies to date.

NLD-BOC focal person and Provincial Agriculture Office Head Rotchie Ravelo said that the holistic approach that is being administered in the caravan is “a testament to the government’s highest regard toward providing the needs of the poor people of Davao Oriental”. By Karen Lou Deloso (with report from Riza Golez/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

 

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