Sagay City, located at the northernmost tip of Negros Island, is a 3rd class city in the province of Negros Occidental. It covers a total land area of 33.034 hectares and is populated by 140.740 inhabitants. Since its becoming a city in 1995, Sagay City teems with economic prosperity, on the one hand, and is confronted with the problem of illegal settlers, on the other hand. Out of its 25 barangays, Brgy. Old Sagay and Brgy. Himogaan Baybay have the most number of illegal occupants.
To alleviate the lives of those living in the slums, Sagay City enrolled in the Millennium Development Goals – Family-Based Actions for Children and Their Environs (MDG-FACES) project. This project is institutionalized through an Executive Order No. 75-79 dated June 13, 2012 by the then Mayor, now Representative of the 2nd District of Negros Occidental, Leo Rafael M. Cueva. The EO created the Management Team, the Support Team and the Secretariat. The Management Team is composed of the City Core Team with the City Welfare and Development Officer as the Focal Person; the City Planning and Development Coordinator, the City Health Officer, and the City Local Government Operations Officer as members. A team of community organizers composed of two team leaders and eight community workers is also created to handle the eight integrity circles in the two barangays and to conduct the survey in the slum areas to identify the target beneficiaries.
The major accomplishments of MDG-FACES includes:
- Programa sa Kabataan kag Pamatan-on (PKP) which promotes value formation, sports, culture and arts, moral values; provides avenue for the conduct of environmental activities, e.g., coastal clean-up, backyard gardening, coastal and marine protection awareness, of value clarification activities, e.g., counseling, goal setting, etc., of skills training, of music clinic and of awareness campaign on rights of children;
- Project LAWOD (Livelihood to Alleviate the Workers Occupation for Development) which provides livelihood assistance and technology transfer seminar on fish, squid, shell processing (1st batch of demonstration projects), food processing (2nd batch of demonstration projects) and packaging seminar;
- HOPES (Health for Organized Poor families Established in the Slums) which is an avenue for the conduct of health and sanitation activities which includes health and nutrition classes, training on personal hygiene, awareness on communicable diseases, campaign against drug abuse, maternal care services;
- BUGAY which is a project that provides house and lot to the beneficiaries;
- Scholarship and Assistance which is an avenue for the provision of educational assistance which includes full scholarship grants, uniform allowance and of financial assistance which includes, among others, hospitalization, rice assistance, etc.; and,
- MDG-FACES Family Day where talents of the beneficiaries are showcased and good academic performance of beneficiaries are recognized.
On May 30, 2012 at Bayview Park Hotel in Manila, the City of Sagay entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Local Government Academy to implement The MDG-FACES Project. From then on, MDG-FACES became the priority program of the administration of Mayor Leo Rafael M. Cueva.
Preparatory activities for the program implementation were undertaken. The City Core Team, Support Team, Secretariat and team of community organizers were created. These mechanisms were tasked to ensure that the technical works were given due attention and sustainability of the projects guaranteed.
The launching of the MDG-FACES project was slated on July 4, 2012 at Balay Kauswagan, a hotel and convention center owned and operated by the city government. In this momentous event, both the parents and children beneficiaries recited and signed their Pledge of Commitment which is translated in the local dialect.
The City of Sagay made significant diversions in the implementation of MDG-FACES. Moved by the hapless condition of the household beneficiaries, the Local Chief Executive increased the number of the beneficiaries from 40 to 80 – 60 beneficiaries from Brgy. Old Sagay and 20 beneficiaries from Brgy. Himoga-an Baybay. Furthermore, the Project Management Team has decided that the oldest child in the household will be the beneficiary. This was premised on the fact that the LGU will be granting them full scholarship benefits until they graduate in college. Once they earned their degree, it is envisioned that they will be the ones who bail out their families from the vicious cycle of poverty.
The MDG-FACES project in Sagay City is a work in progress. The City Government has never ceased in investing financial and human resources in support of the project. The local functionaries who are involved in the project implementation have never grown tired in exerting effort and in going an extra mile to ensure the success and sustainability of the project. The beneficiaries have cultivated a sense of ownership of the project.
To date, MDG-FACES project in Sagay City is slowly transforming the lives of the poor children beneficiaries and their families.
Key Implementation Steps
Preparatory Works. Laying the foundation of the implementation of the MDG-FACES starts with the creation of the City Core Team, Support Team and the Secretariat as embodied in EO No. 75-79. A team of community organizers is also created to handle the eight integrity circles and to identify the target household beneficiaries in the two pilot barangays.
Identification of Beneficiaries. A house-to-house survey is conducted as an initial step for identification of beneficiaries. For a household to be qualifies as beneficiary, it should fit in the following criteria:
- with 0-17-year old child
- a non-4Ps member
- with no fixed income for the head of the household
- living in a shanty
The living conditions of the possible beneficiaries are presented to the Project Management Team for screening.
Capability Interventions. The community organizers are given avenues to equip themselves with the necessary skills and knowledge on community building and mobilizing.
The eight Integrity Circles consisting of 10 parents each are required to attend a weekly meeting as part of their commitment to the project. In addition, social preparation activities which includes, among others, problem identification, physical exercises, health orientations, waste management, coastal care and protection, value clarification, family care, discipline, livelihood values, understanding the cycle of poverty and values formation are undertaken.
As a component of the Programa sa Kabataan kag Pamatan-on, children beneficiaries attend to a weekly meeting. A series of activities under this program include environmental awareness advocacy, solid waste management advocacy, environmental protection program, personal hygiene promotion, moral values clarification, patriotism, community awareness and involvement, music workshop, art workshop, and beach volleyball clinic. These activities are aimed at enhancing creativity and promoting social engagement of the children beneficiaries.
As frontliners in the implementation of the MDG-FACES program, the members of the technical working team undergo continuous education and training program to upgrade their skills and competence. This includes training of community organizers on Technology of Participation, strategy formulation workshop, basic interpersonal communication skills training, workshop on entrepreneurship values, seminar on living a simple life, valuing oneself and the community.
Quick Response Mechanism. MDG-FACES beneficiaries are provided mechanisms through the assistance of various support teams.
On education, four children are enrolled in the Day Care program; one deaf-mute is given special education; 46 elementary pupils and 26 high school students are enrolled; and four college students are provided with full scholarship grants. Aside from the provision of financial assistance for tuition and other fees, the LGU also provides school and PE uniform for college student scholars.
On health and sanitation, 80 households join the regular coastal clean up every first Monday of the month; 80 mothers attend health orientation on dengue and tuberculosis; one severely malnourished child improves his nutritional status; and four pregnant mothers avail maternal care services.
On environment, 80 children are part in the vegetable planting and 80 household practice proper solid waste management.
Budget Allocation. To better implement the MGD-FACES, the Php 300,000.00 grant of the Local Government Academy is supplemented with Php 638,400.00 taken from the fund of the LGU and with Php 600,000.00 from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of Rep. Alfredo Maranon III.
The Php 1,538,400.00 budget for the first phase of MDG-FACES implementation is allocated for training (Php 100,000.00), maintenance and other operating expenses (Php 158,400.00), Quick Response Mechanisms (Php 410,000.00), infrastructure (Php 630,000.00), and demonstration project (Php 240,000.00)
Extra Mile. The City of Sagay has provided the MDG-FACES beneficiaries with electricity, toilet and water facilities. 18 family beneficiaries are provided with decent housing unit amounting to Php 20,000.00 each. The creation of an MDG village is on progress. This is intended to be the relocation site for informal settlers.
Project LAWOD (Livelihood to Alleviat the Workrs Occupation for Development). This is a program of the MDG-FACES of Sagay City to support the children in the slums. The livelihood projects which can be a source of additional income for the beneficiaries are the key for the realization of the main thrust of MDG-FACES, i.e., education.
The City of Sagay has conducted trainings on food processing at NONESCOST Hostel, Brgy. Old Sagay, Sagay City on November 7-9, 2012 and December 17-19, 2012. These trainings have enabled the beneficiaries to produce the following: smoked fish, fish loaf, fish siomai, fish crackers, kikiam, crab crackers, sicad-sicad crackers, deboned fish, punaw crackers, sardine, squid rings, fish ball, banana chips and camote chips. A training on packaging these products is conducted on November 26, 2012.
Each beneficiary is given a loan capital of Php 2,000.00 in order to start the livelihood. The community organizers conduct a weekly collection and monitoring to ensure the sustainability of the project. Moreover, relevant inputs, e.g., self-discipline, business management, book keeping, marketing, promotion and salesmanship, are provided to help beneficiaries to properly manage their livelihood. Most of the beneficiaries are engaged in micro business using their capital loan. Hence, they are able to pay their loan on the expected date and have earned their capital buildup. Currently, they are on their second tranche of loan which are used to expand their businesses.
PKP (Programa sa Kabataan Kag Pamatan-on). This program aims to assist MDG-FACES scholars in their education and values clarification. Specifically, it aims to improve the level of their knowledge, physical capabilities, attitudes, values and social responsibilities. The scholars meet every Saturday. Special activities are held during summer breaks or vacation period.
HOPES (Health for Organized Poor families Established in the Slums). This program aims to enhance the knowledge, attitude and skills of the MDG-FACES beneficiaries in advocating for preventive and primary health care. Parent beneficiaries and their children are educated on health issues and, in return, communicate these knowledge to others in the community, thus creating a network of health service providers. It is envisaged that MDG-FACES parents will be mobilized around MDG village for health care issues while the children beneficiaries will become stewards of their others siblings in the absence of their parents.
BUGAY. This is a program of the LGU that provides housing units to MDG-FACES household beneficiaries. On August 20, 2013, the ground breaking of the relocation site is held at Purok Manzanilla, Brgy. Old Sagay. To witness this momentous event are the 60 beneficiaries of Old Sagay Integrity Circles, barangay officials, Mayor Alfredo Maranon III and Rep. Leo Rafael M. Cueva.
The MDG Village starts with 55 lots (75 sq. meter/lot). Its construction has started last September 25, 2013 through a bayanihan system wherein each beneficiaries renders at least 300 hours of sweat equity in constructing the houses. It is projected that 19 houses will be built, 50 houses will be repaired and facilities for toilets, water and electricity will be constructed.
The MDG-FACES project has made a significant dent in the lives of the beneficiaries in the City of Sagay. The project has raised the self-esteem, social consciousness, health status, and the income of the beneficiaries.
· There is an observed improvement in the behavior and attitude towards studies among children beneficiaries who are recipient of scholarship grants. This is attributed to the character formation activities provided to the beneficiaries.
· Household beneficiaries are now more aware of their social responsibilities towards the environment. They are now practicing waste segregation at source and are active partners in caring and protecting the environment.
· The demonstration projects of every household beneficiaries provided opportunities for additional income. As a result, children become healthier because parents can now provide appropriate nourishment; children can now go to school because parents have money to spend for their education.
· Mothers who are beneficiaries have a paradigm shift in their outlook in life. They have put more values on self-discipline, hard work, etc. This is the result of the character and values formation which is a component of the livelihood program.
Using the metaphor of salt, a beneficiary has expressed the significant dent that the MDG-FACES project made in his life. Before the implementation of the project, he likens himself to a sea water in the slums – stagnant, dirty, and a source of problem especially during high tide. It is always the object of the curse of the people who live and who pass by the slum area. Nobody cares and nobody really like the dirty salt water. However, just like him, the dirty salt water, if given the chance, will become useful.
The MDG-FACES project becomes that chance. The project is like the intense heat of the sun that solidified the salty water into a useful element – salt. For the beneficiary, MDG-FACES gives him the avenue to work for his goals and be assured of a brighter future. With all the opportunities that come along with the project, little by little, he is transformed into a better person … a person who is useful to the society.