Categorized | Featured, KALAHI-CIDSS

Bayanihan still lives

Corazon “Cora” Correa, 57, admits that facing a community full of doubts and hasty judgments is a big challenge for her.  But she never gave up and believes that bayanihan spirit is still alive within them.***



Paving the selfless road

Doubts. Criticisms. Rejections.

One may easily be disheartened with these responses and probably pull back and leave. But bringing with her the true spirit of leadership, Corazon “Cora” Correa bravely battled these problems and shed light of hope to the community.

Cora is a 57 year old farmer residing at Brgy. Pambilan Sur, Alabat, Quezon Province. She was appointed as the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) Chairperson for the farm to market road project of Kalahi-CIDSS at their community. At first, she was very hesitant to accept the highest position among all volunteers, believing that she was just a simple farmer incompetent to perform BSPMC duties. But having deep concern for the community’s welfare, she wholeheartedly accepted the responsibility.

Cora was always determined to attend seminars and workshops because of the skills and knowledge she gains during the activities. She felt as if she instantly gained accountancy and engineering degrees after series of trainings. In return, she used these learnings to guide her co-volunteers on the implementation of the project.

“Dati hindi ko alam kung ano ba yung bidding o ano ang tamang pagtimpla ng semento upang maging matibay ang proyekto. Kahit na panlalaking trabaho ang karamihan dito, natutunan ko lahat ito at nagamit sa paggabay sa mga kasamahan ko,” Cora shared.

Bursting complaints and criticisms

Cora admitted that she had some hard times leading the community. She received negative comments and responses towards the whole program, specifically on the distribution of weekly wages to the volunteers.

To assure that the volunteers would still have income to provide for their families, the barangay agreed to give them weekly allowances. However, some of the volunteers were still in doubt, thinking that the distribution of wages are simply make-believes. In response, Cora persistently went into the houses of these volunteers and persuaded them to put their trust on the program. When the first set of workers received their salaries, it proved the others that the barangay’s assurance was true.

However, due to typhoon visits that hampered the construction at that time, the budget alloted for volunteers’ weekly wages were used for unanticipated transportation costs. Because of strong rains, supplies are very hard to transport which made them to drop off the supplies into three areas rather than single, direct delivery. The issue on the wage distribution arised again.

“Naku Cora, narito ang daliri ko, ipapuputol ko kapag may nagtrabaho pa diyan nang walang bayad,” exclaimed one of the local folks.

Even though they can’t offer anything in monetary value, she and the other members of the team humbly offered free lunches and snacks to those willing to render their free service to the community. Cora went through all the members of the barangay, instilling to them the true essence of volunteerism or bayanihan. She always promoted the idea that the whole community will benefit from the project so they themselves should be the ones eager to finish it.

“Ipinagpatuloy ko pa rin at hindi ako nagpatalo,” Cora firmly said.

Revealing the aftermath

Into her surprise, the community have finally changed their point of view and gave their time, skills, and effort for the project without expecting any pay. Each day, the number of workers increased and other households provided free food for the volunteers. Finally grasping the true essence of volunteerism, Brgy. Pambilan Sur finished the farm to market road project.

Cora shared that the project certainly removed the forks in the road that the community regularly experienced before. Now, farmers don’t need to walk through long ricefields and can deliver goods while it is still fresh which increases its market value. They also don’t need to use farm animals with costly fares since vehicles can easily pass through while offering much lower transport cost. Students also have lighter travel going to school as they don’t need to walk through the muddy streets anymore.

After all Cora’s hardships and sacrifices, it is ironic that she can barely use the road since they live a little farther to the project. Knowing this beforehand, she still rendered her time and service for the barangay. This, in itself, is a great example of selfless leadership.

“Ang mahalaga naman sa akin ay makapagbigay ng tulong sa mas nakararami. Lubos ko ring pinupuri at pinagmamalaki ang aking mga kabarangay dahil hindi magiging matagumpay ang proyektong ito kung hindi dahil sa kanilang pagtutulungan,” Cora ended.  @@@





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