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Mangyan mom gains leadership skills through DSWD’s community-driven development program

Exaltacion Rabino
Exaltacion Rabino is happy to serve her community and share her skills with others.

In the town of Cajidiocan, Romblon resides a woman who embodies the spirit of true service and compassion for her community. She is Exaltacion Rabino, a 52-year-old member of the Mangyan tribe.

Exaltacion’s journey began as a modest member of their community. However, fate had other plans for her. Over the course of time, she found herself becoming a volunteer, serving at the forefront of her community as an integral part of the Project Implementation Team (PIT) for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan–Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) program.

KALAHI-CIDSS is a program that utilizes the community-driven development (CDD) approach which empowers community members to actively participate in identifying and prioritizing their locality’s problems.

The program actively engages residents in poor communities to design, implement, and manage solutions to their priority programs.

Exaltacion Rabino

Exaltacion is one of the most recent volunteers of the program whose years of service are marked by triumphs and community upliftment. Emerging as an advocate of community volunteerism, she participated in projects aimed at addressing pressing challenges within their community, which also elevated her skills and capabilities in the process.

Among the various sub-projects which she became a part of were the construction of a water system with filtration box in 2010; construction of an elementary school in 2011; and construction of a slope protection in 2012, which she served as a member of the procurement team.

“Ang pagiging isang community volunteer ay higit pa sa simpleng pagtulong; ito ay pagiging bahagi ng pag-unlad at pagbabago,” explained Exaltacion.

(Being a community volunteer is more than providing simple assistance; it is being a part of progress and change.)

In 2017 to 2018, Exaltacion was appointed as the Head of the Project Preparation Team that allowed her to show her leadership skills and dedication as a Mangyan woman.

“Sa paglilingkod ko, natutunan ang maging bukas at makipag-ugnayan sa mga mataas na opisyal ng bayan,” Exaltacion recalled.

(In my service, I learned to engage with the higher officials of the town.)

The 2019 elections marked a turning point in Exaltacion’s life. Facing her fears, she took on a role in local governance as a barangay kagawad. Spearheading a campaign without financial backing, she was not only elected but also emerged as the top candidate in the ballot count.

The years 2021 to 2022 brought new hope to the people of Cajidiocan because of the introduction of the KALAHI-CIDSS Additional Financing (AF).

As the Phase 1 implementation unfolded, Exaltacion found herself at the helm of the project as chair of the Bid and Awards Committee (BAC). Despite challenges in the procurement process, she was able to overcome the difficult tasks, all thanks to the support of her community members and the discipline she learned from becoming a leader and community volunteer.

Today, the community rejoices in the completion of their improved water system project, a testament to the collective resilience and determination of the townspeople that ensures the continuing progress of their community.

Exaltacion Rabino

For Exaltacion, being a community volunteer transcends mere assistance. It is a symbol of active participation in progress and change.

Through her dedicated service, she learned the importance of openness and effective communication with town officials. Expressing profound gratitude to KALAHI-CIDSS, she emphasizes the program’s role in uncovering the significance of every individual in their community.

“Malaking pasasalamat ang nararamdaman ko sa KALAHI-CIDSS dahil dito, natuklasan ko ang kahalagahan ng bawat isa sa aming komunidad,” she points out.

(I feel immense gratitude to KALAHI-CIDSS because through it, I discovered the importance of each individual in our community.)

Exaltacion also serves as an inspiration in their community as one of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries who graduated from the program last August.

The once simple Mangyan mom now serves as an inspiration in her town. Her story proves that behind every success is a caring heart ready to serve others.

Since its inception in 2003, the KALAHI-CIDSS program has accomplished over 76,000 community sub-projects, involved over 2.4 million community volunteers, and reached more than 22 million poor households, as of October 2023.

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