‘Bayanihan’ in Sindangan

“With great power comes great responsibility.” This mantra holds true to Spider-man, to the super humans we have come to know and to the people who holds certain position, understanding their responsibility to protect and further human kind. But what if there is no attribution of power given and relies only on the idea of participation and collaboration.

The municipality of Sindangan in Zamboanga del Norte has long established their civil society organization (CSO) since the 1990s. It has actively participated in society in terms of transparency, good governance and towards social development.

Comprising of mostly the Subanen Tribe and considering its location and accessibility to people living in the mountains, the CSO of Sindangan has organized its own radio station: “CSO Patrolya sa Kalambuan (92.1 Radyo Natin FM)” headed by its president Pastor Renato Badialan, airing every 11:00- 12 noon on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with 7 field reporters assigned to different barangays that has been operating now for 3 years. It caters to 52 barangays in addressing issues and concerns on government services, facilities, safety, environment and more.

“Ang mga concern nila ina-address namin din sa LGU nila para hindi ma bypass.” stated by Pastor Badialan. (We address their specific concerns to their LGU in order to avoid bypassing authorities.)

Moreover, these field reporters are just volunteers and members of the community but have the commitment to work and engage in active participation for the development of Sindangan.

This then highlights the role of CSO in the community that serves as a self help organization that gives mutual aid to the people regardless of the participation from the government or private sector.

“Minsan nga nakakatangggap kami ng threat sa text, may takot din pero napalagay na rin sa isip ko kung oras mo na, oras mo na talaga.” he said. (Sometimes we receive threats through text messages, there is fear but I have already settled my mind on the thought that If it’s my time, then it is.)

The presence of CSOs in the country is always welcome as CSO’s benefits have been tested and proven by time and events in responding to environmental disasters, strikes, settlement issues, struggle of workers, inequalities and a lot more. But what makes Sindangan belonging to Zamboanga del Norte distinct is how despite its poverty incidence rate of 64.6% (NSCB, 2006), the will and initiative of people coursed through its CSO is upheld in giving service provision notwithstanding circumstances of financial and human resources and location, and can be looked upon as a model in establishing and maintaining a stable relationship with the LGU.

Ayana Jamnia Maranda is a Psychology major at Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology. Passionate about peace and gender advocacy, she participated in the National Youth Ambassadors Program for Peace 2012 and served as a parliamentarian at the National Youth Parliament. She is a graduate of the Philippine Youth Leadership Program 10 (PYLP 10), a U.S. Department of State youth exchange program. She spends time doing productive summers in volunteering and organizing cause oriented projects.