By Rey Anthony Chiu | 07:28 PM October 06, 2022
No one is so poor to have nothing to give.
A fifth local government unit in Bohol may not have enough resources to start off a key social service to its indigents. But armed with good credibility, fiscal management and transparency, it has hammered and nailed 23 new houses to its residents, and their ‘parked’ pooled resource can finance up to six more houses.
“Local Government Unit of Loay has only to appropriate not less than P15,000 per house, and the rest is given by the private sector in forms of donations and free services,” sums up Loay Mayor and lawyer Hilario Ayuban, while explaining the town’s social service centerpiece in ‘Balay Tinabangay.’
While there Congresswoman Alexie Tutor of the same District is also into giving out ‘Libreng Pabalay,’ to her constituents using her own personal money, Mayor Ayuban admitted personally he has no money and even the LGU does not have the resources to bring out the same service.
It accordingly started in 2020, when there was a family which came to his office for help. To that, he said the LGU can only help as long as the family stays in a house.
The poor family disclosed: they did not even have a house.
The mayor then instructed the town social welfare and development officer to go, survey the family’s real situation and find out how the LGU can help.
Since then, the town came up with a concept of Balay Tinabangay and presented this to the people, their response was enormous, the mayor said.
“Because this is Balay Tinabangay, we need to engage the private sector, in fact the bulk of the funds would come from the private sector,” the lawyer mayor compared his town’s program with that of his idolized congresswoman.
Pooling in resources and putting up a common understanding of the responsibilities of parties, the LGU agreed that the family beneficiary would source out the lumber, or the host barangay can help in securing such, and even the neighbors would be the one’s preparing the refreshments for the carpenters and volunteers.
The vision for Balay Tinabangay is for the beneficiary to share his counterpart, and while everyone helps, the LGU would be supervising the project construction, he pressed.
“We were able to build that first house and came to know that there indeed are still a lot more families who would need a decent house,” the mayor shared.
A town on the southern coast of Bohol and that where the flooding Loboc river empties out to sea, Loay has seen a lot of natural disasters that the past storm has left many houses damaged, forcing families to stay in heavily patched crumbling structures if only to keep them dry during the rains.
Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Maricel Violago, who leads a team of validators, said in the program, they ask barangay chairmen to submit five possible beneficiaries, poorest of the poor from the barangays.
This, they validate and compare them with the list from other barangays and pick for the next month’s beneficiary, which comes out in direst need of the house.
The aim is to give out one house every month, and we have given 23 already, the mayor said.
Conceptualized when the building materials were still a lot cheaper, Balay Tiabangay’s P100K house is now coating P120K, but still, people are giving, the mayor proudly shared.
Balay Tinabangay builds a small house with a two rooms, a small living and dining room provision, all made from coco lumber or wood and with bamboo slip-weave walls and galvanized iron sheets.
About 90% of the house would come from donations, sometimes from wealthy families, or at times, savings from students, even poor families sharing their little surplus. Everything is a gift, explains a volunteer.
Everything is duly accounted and is available for anyone who wants to see, donations, house progress reports are even posted in the town web page, another volunteer pointed out as she scanned and showed the writer the One Loay page in her mobile phone.
In a place where allegations of politicians playing favorites in the past abound, Loay has just shown that a politics based on pure service is in fact, good politics.
“It is a tough job, but then, when you are doing it to help, it is really worth the trouble,” Violago said.
That incidentally would also fit the entre Balay Tinabangay Team, giving people their home, one at a time. (RAHC/PIA_7/Bohol)