The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has vowed to continue implementing programs that would strengthen community resilience to lessen the damages brought by climate change-induced disasters and calamities.
One of its programs seeking to mitigate the impacts of climate change is the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) that benefits the residents of Barangay San Roque in the municipality of Pilar, one of the communities In Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, affected by coastal erosion due to the rising sea water caused by global warming.
“During high tide, sea water reaches the community through an inlet – an indentation of a shoreline, usually long and narrow, such as a small bay or arm, that often leads to an enclosed body of salt water. Since waves, no matter how big or small, continuously creep towards the village’s banks, it erodes the land, leaving residents worried that the sea would one day claim their houses and properties,” the DSWD said.
Through KALAHI-CIDSS, the San Roque residents were able to carry out a community project that would address coastal erosion in their area.
Using the community-driven development (CDD) strategy, KALAHI-CIDSS allows communities to gain control over decisions and resources.
“Through the program, community members actively participate to identify and prioritize their community’s concerns and allow them to design, implement, and manage solutions to their priority problems,” the DSWD said.
It was during the second cycle of the implementation of KALAHI-CIDSS in 2016 when the San Roque residents decided to pursue the construction of the 80-linear meter wharf that will serve as a barrier to the rising sea water and at the same time, will also be used as mini port and fish landing area.
The project, which started on June 9, 2016, has a budgetary requirement amounting to more than P1.27 million.
Through the collaboration of DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS, the municipal government of Pilar, the barangay local government of San Roque, and community volunteers, the wharf was immediately finished on August 17 of the same year, the DSWD cited.
“Aside from serving as a fortification against sea water, the wharf has also helped ease the transportation woes of residents since small boats and bancas now have a sturdy structure where they can dock and get passengers. Normally, these boats ferry the villagers to the open sea and to the shores of the town center of Pilar and other neighboring coastal villages. Most residents prefer to ride boats because the fare is much cheaper compared to land transportation,” it said.
Prior to the implementation of the project, San Roque barangay captain Nilda Gonzales recalled the plight of the residents, particularly the students, saying that “it’s so hard here in the past. Students often get muddy [boarding a boat to school.”
“The wharf is such a huge defense against the seawater,” she added.
The DSWD also implemented in 2020 its Risk Resiliency Program (RRP) that benefited the San Roque residents.
“The RRP, through the Cash-for-Work (RRP CFW) on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction aims to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable families and communities by providing cash assistance and involving them in temporary employment activities that address climate and disaster risks,” it said.
Under RRP, the residents were paid to build a stone wharf to address soil erosion in the area.
“As the lead agency in disaster response, DSWD will continue to ensure the implementation of programs and services that will encourage disaster preparedness and mitigate the impacts of climate changes, especially to vulnerable communities around the country,” the DSWD said.