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Metamorphosis_Kalahi-CIDSS Compendium 2015

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eing constructed through community efforts. People who were not able to render free labor because of their busy schedule willingly shelled out certain amounts for meals or snacks while others simply donated in kind, he added. Besao garnered back-to-back awards as the Best Sub-Project Implementer in 2011 and 2012. “It is very gratifying to see people volunteering to come work together to finish a project or a task like in the olden days,” Besao Mayor Wellington Pooten expressed. Because of this positive effect, he further said they have adopted the CEAC in the implementation of other non-Kalahi-CIDSS program including barangay projects. “Insubli na di mayat ay ugali ed nabaon (It brought back good practices from the past),” Pooten said in vernacular, referring to the Kalahi-CIDSS. Cultural Transformation As a community deeply rooted in indigenous traditions, the elders have a respected status in the society and are looked onto as the “decision makers”. “The council of elders would decide for the community since their decisions are accepted as the best for the community because of their vast experiences,” Pooten, himself a member of the council of elders in his community, explained. However, this set-up faced change with the introduction of the Kalahi-CIDSS. The implementation of the Kalahi-CIDSS through the CEAC gave voice to the “silent majority” and those who have accepted that decisions should rest with the “opinion leaders,” according to Gaab. “The CEAC activities have provided opportunities for them to participate in the community decision-making processes,” said the MPDC. The CEAC involves any member of the community to participate in identifying and prioritizing community problems and issues, as well as in giving solutions to the problems. “(Because of this) elders felt threatened because the power to decide was no longer inherent only to them,” Gaab explained. However, the excellent results of the program forged a deeper respect on the program from the elders and eased the tension arising. 43

Smooth Travel. Roads going to each community in Besao is now slowly being cemented as years pass* “Later on, they positioned themselves on the process,” Gaab mused. Starting on the second cycle of the program, the most of the elders volunteered to be part of the grievance committee. Besao is now on its fourth cycle of implementation. It was, in a sense, a cultural transformation for Besao –an interweaving of an established societal norm and a beneficial change. “(Their role as grievance committee) was very appropriate because being an IP community, the role of elders in the resolution of grievances is critical,” Gaab stated. He added a closer look at decisions made by these elders would show that their primary concern is to preserve the unity of the community. Change may be imminent and unpredictable but Besao will surely endure and adapt as it has done before. “Di importante para sin ipugaw (Importantly, it is for the people),” Pooten mused.// 44

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