Feature: No more dark nights for Bgy. Pinanaan
By Evelyn E. Jerusalem & Christian L. Martinez
Legazpi City (13 October) -- Pinanaan, an upland barangay about eight kilometers away from the town proper of Aroroy in Masbate province had about 242 households. Barangay folk thrived as upland farmers and gold panners.
Barangay Pinanaan with its terrible but accessible road could be reach by land through a four-vehicle drive public utility jeepney which conducts only two trips a day.
One had qualms about hitching rides on a motorcycle on rainy days or hiking the 8-km stretch.
Some people say that the barangay is a haven for rural revolutionary activities and also considered as one among the most depressed barangays of Aroroy.
Never did the residents think that the barangay would be reached by electricity, nor did they expect a rural electrification program to unfold in the community.
How a remote village could be possibly served with electricity when the area is hardly reachable owing to the forbidding and treacherous road condition, is a puzzle to the residents.
The people of Pinanaan lived simple lives and dreamt simple dreams. Nights had been quiet and dark for the community folk who depended only on kerosene lamps for illumination.
Cold welcome for KALAHI-CIDSS
When the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services: Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (KALAHI-CIDSS: KKB) was introduced in Bgy. Pinanaan on June 2003, the people were adamant for they care less about government projects.
The first month of the program implementation was the most taxing time for Ms. Marilou Loma, the KALAHI-CIDSS community facilitator.
"Nobody in the area except for a few seemed to be interested in the project," Loma relates.
"We'll get nothing out of it," was the common response of each household.
"When they're invited for the barangay orientation, only few attended. They thought it was just another one of government's empty promises. There really was nothing to expect," Marilou said.
Being positive that the perception of the people will change, Loma had to scale hills and walk the vast woodlands just to introduce the program. This was also to solicit the willingness, cooperation and participation of the people to the project.
Eventually with the conduct of the social preparation activities up to the first Municipal Inter Barangay Forum (MIBF) Bgy. Pinanaan became one of the winning barangays.
Community mobilization and the people's participation in governance were very evident in the involvement of the people's organization, family members, couples, women, senior citizen and the youth in community activities. Their initiative and active involvement in decision making drowned the seemingly passive and negative attitude of other residents.
The KALAHI-CIDSS program responded by providing them with a power generator and mainline electric cable wires. The people on the other hand, organized themselves to undertake the most commendable project embarked in the community.
During the construction stage, many volunteers cut tress for electric posts; others dug holes and cleared the way for mainline cables. Each member committed full involvement in the project implementation.
The people chartered a collective strategy to actualize their dream project for a sustainable power supply. The community formed the Bgy. Pinanaan Electric Consumers Association (BAPECA) chaired by Ely Saut as president, with two operators, and a treasurer.
Each household in Bgy. Pinanaan that uses a 120-watt bulb pays a monthly rate of P120. A membership fee of P250 was also collected for maintenance and basic services.
Gratitude for the project
Today, more than 100 households have so far been served with electricity which provides school children a longer time to study at night.
The people have become more updated with current events and information through the radio and television.
Later, more families bought refrigerator to store meat, fish and vegetables without fear of rotting the next day, and leftovers can still be recycled for the next day.
Some of the community members open a sari-sari store and also sell ice and ice candy.
At night, they can sing with their hearts out to the tune of their favorite song with their videoke.
As the people enjoy the benefits of a locally generated power supply, gone were the pessimism. They realized that there is no better way to attain what they long dreamt of than by working hard for it.
"We are very thankful that the KALAHI-CIDSS program chose our barangay. Though we are still lacking in some basic services, the electrification project is unequaled by anything else that we can think of," exclaimed Bgy. Captain Jose Bajar. (PIA) [top]