Tourists and excursionists endure three hours hike to see the majestic Fuwaas Falls sitting atop the mountains of Belwang in Sadanga, Mountain Province.
To the residents, it is more than an attraction and pride as the water that flows through it is the same that sustains their livelihood.
“Nu summer, ikabite daguiti lallaki diay bat-bato tano ngumato ti danum nga magna diay irigasyon,” shared Antonette Pindusan, a community volunteer.
Antonette said it had long been a routine for them to head to the site every summer to build a temporary riprap to divert the water towards the irrigation canal that passes through the rice paddies of barangays Belwang, Bekigan, and Poblacion.
Every time heavy rain or typhoons hit the municipality, rocks would be carried away by the current. When this happens, the men would have to go back to the site, reachable through an hour and a half hike, and rebuild the riprap to keep the water flowing.
Due to the geographical location and strong river current, oppositions to the possibility of building the diversion dam at Sitio Toktok is inevitable. But to the majority, the safety of their family and their source of income is what united them to push forward and finish the project they have longed for.
Through the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay Program, the diversion dam was identified as their priority sub-project in December 2021. The project received a funding of P855,958.89 grant from the program and P45,000 from the local government of Sadanga.
With the Community Driven Development approach, the program aims to empower communities to participate and be involved in the implementation of government projects towards community development. For its attainment, community volunteers were selected to head the different committees who will be playing a vital role in the implementation of the project – men and women, including older persons.
The committees that were created are the procurement committee, which ensures the proper procurement for the materials and services needed for the sub-project. The project monitoring team, which ensures that all materials delivered are complete and up to standard. Status of fund use is also being presented to the community to ensure transparency.
Series of trainings were provided to the volunteers. This includes preparation of project proposals, technical documents, government procurement procedures, financial management, and operations and maintenance management of the sub-project. With the assistance of the local government officials and staff members of the Kalahi-Cidss Program, the volunteers headed the preparation to post implementation activities and greatly contributed to the successful completion of the diversion dam.
Each household committed to join the labor group that carried the materials to the project site. With their unity, construction of the diversion dam that started in April 29 was completed in July 21.
“Mayaten ti turog mi tatta ta uray no ngumato diay danum ken napigsa iti tudo, ammu mi nga tuluy-tuloy ti danum nga agayos diay irigasyon. Saanen nga basta-basta madadael diay dam,” Antonette said.