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Kalahi-CIDSS lights up IP village in Sultan Kudarat

 • 04:27 AM Mon Dec 14, 2015
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By: 
Hilbert T. Estacion/DSWD-12
Non Togue, a Manobo village leader in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat beams as he showed his home now lighted with solar energy from Kalahi-CIDSS (Hilbert Estacion)

BAGUMBAYAN, Sultan Kudarat --Christmas is now literally brighter
for Manobo villagers in the remote community of Kanulay here.

For many decades, this out of electronically-sphered village
left Manobo people with no choice but to embrace the gloom and doom of darkness
at night, living in isolation to the rest of the town.

But today, light turns on in their households, as night falls at
the end of a sunny day after living in a community with a story, that has unshackled
itself in darkness.

Thanks to the solar home lights project of the Department of
Social Welfare and Development, courtesy of one its flagship poverty-reduction
programs, Kapit-Bisig Laban saKahirapan-A Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery
of Social Services or Kalahi-CIDSS.

Seen to be too remote to be reached by the national power grid,
the absence of electricity is one of the major problems raised by the villagers
for a long time.

For their lighting needs, people rely on kerosene lamp and wood,
which is found to be very expensive for many families.

We spent more or less, from Php150 to Php200 for our lights,”
Non Togue, a Manobo village leader, whose house was also accidentally razed to
the ground because of unwanted kerosene light.

There are those who practice to burn used old sacks and plastic
to light the house so their children could study at night, unwittingly knowing
it is dangerous to their health.

But, these become things in the
past, as 103 Kanulay homes, majority composed of Indigenous Peoples, belonging
to Manobo tribe, now have their own solar panel installed, lighting their
homes, without worrying its cost and adverse effect to health.

The solar home system was seen as the solution to the most
pressing need of the community, which was realized with the collaborative
efforts of community volunteers, barangay and municipal officials of Bagumbayan
and DSWD staff, through the funding from World Bank amounting to Php1.7
million.

No brownout

Let there be light and there is light even during brownout.

This is even the whole town and province is experiencing power
interruption and energy crisis.

Known for being left behind because of the absence of
electricity, Kanulay now is famous as the last village standing and lighting
during brownout in the middle of the night.

Located in the high plateau of Bagumbayan mountains, the houses
in Kanulay are seen like fireflies glowing above, especially when lights are
off in its neighbouring villages beneath.

Many wondered why we have always light while there are power
interruptions in the whole town,” Togue exclaimed.

With the source of energy coming from the sun, the village need
not worry about power interruptions, especially with the energy crisis that the
area is experiencing.

Ray of change

As the ray of sun energizes the solar panel in the homes of
Kanulay, its power and light has continued to change the way of life of
villagers.

Living in his late years of his life, Non Togue, a 67- year-old
Manobo farmer, did not expect that light will be finally installed directly in
his house, after long years of living in the darkness of night.

Every time he sees the sun sets its last hurrah in the
afternoon, he feels the deep purple and red rays that seem to present the
struggle of the light refusing to fade from the sky, so as his feeling to keep
the sun shines in the village.

For seniors, the ray of light is of great help in moving in and
out in house during night. Light at night is also a great help for children to
study their lessons.

School children can now study and make their assignments at
night without interruption,” said Florentina Pimentel, 48 year old mother.

Up in a mountainous village like Kanulay, children studying at
night are interrupted because of the cool and airy breeze of the wind, put off
the kerosene light.

Our lives have been changed here the moment our homes were
energized and lighted,” Pimentel said.

She added that the saving, originally goes to buying kerosene to
light their lamps, is now added to buy the needs of their school children and
other valuable purposes.

For Jerwin Tiwan, 28, a Manobo father of two and the chairperson
of the sub-project management committee in the village, said the installation
of the solar home system is a big help as it practically offers more livelihood
opportunities for them.

And Yuletide seasons startsfor the rest of the villagers of Kanulay, with the lights in their homes, the celebration of Christmas and
New Year, will be merrier, happier and brighter like never before. (Hilbert T.
Estacion, regional social marketing officer, DSWD-12)

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