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Metamorphosis_Kalahi-CIDSS Compendium 2015

Who would have thought

Who would have thought that a 60-year-old lady would go far from simply tending sayotes to addressing the United Nations in the Big Apple? On September 30, 2015, Elsie Lomong-oy, of the Applai-Kankana-ey tribe from Besao, Mountain Province just did that. Garbed in the colors of her native attire, Manang Elsie, as she is fondly called, related her experiences as a community volunteer and how capacitating the people through volunteerism lifted her town to become one of Cordilleras fast developing municipalities. She stuttered over her first words as she shook off some nervous feelings, but eventually spoke smoothly towards the end. “I was trembling a bit because the entire experience was a first time for me,” she recalled. Manang Elsie told the crowd how Besao managed to put up 49 infrastructure projects in a span of four years, five times more than the expected government projects. She said development is not just the business of officials, it is everyone’s lookout. “These were constructed by our own hands, from the sweat and aspirations of poor people like me who never had the voice and choice before,” her speech said. At the end of her talk, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation, something that affirmed what she has been doing the entire time. Rest-less From Sayote It was, literally and figuratively, a long but fruitful journey for Manang Elsie. Having spent most of her life in the landlocked town of Besao the elderly lady contented herself to her daily routine and whatever comes around to fill her time. She wakes up to her usual weekday routine which starts with fixing breakfast, feeding the pigs, cleaning the pen, sweeping the yard, washing the dishes, and feeding their pet dog before preparing to go to work at the barangay hall where she is the treasurer or at a meeting where she is a member of an organization. 3 For most, the voluminous task may be more than enough to keep a woman of her age

to Big Apple Back to Back. While at the Barangay Hall, Manang Elsie devotes her time doubling as a barangay treasure and a volunteer member of the Bids and Awards Comitee of the Kalahi-CIDSS* occupied, but not for Manang Elsie. “It (age) is just a number and it even challenges me to do more,” she expressed in local dialect, as she pulled to wear her glasses affixed against her graying hair. In between juggling her work and family, as a wife to her husband Agustin and a mother-ofthree, she also spares time for her role as a community volunteer for the Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi CIDDS) in their barangay. Besao Mayor Wellington Pooten, the chief executive since the Kalahi-CIDSS started in the town in 2011, has nothing but good words for the elderly lady. “Elsie is a very active member of the community. She joins all organizations and does not ask for any incentive or 4

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