Nanays lead community-based monitoring in barangays
In the 2018 Philippine Statistics Authority report, the city of Caloocan has the highest poverty incidence in the National Capital Region (NCR). Thirty-two (32) out of 1,000 families do not have livelihood that could provide them income to meet food and non-food needs.
What will happen if a crisis like a pandemic hits the poor communities in this city?
Liezl Mauricio, a member of the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid (SNPP), lives in Bagong Silang, Caloocan, the biggest barangay in the Philippines in terms of population. When the enhanced community quarantine was enforced in March 2020, the restrictions worsened their situations.
“Mahirap po kasi ang bigayan ng relief goods galing sa barangay. Hindi ito sapat dahil maraming masyadong nangangailangan. ‘Yung unang bigayan dito, matagal bago dumating sa amin. Sobrang hirap ng kalagayan dahil marami sa mga ka-barangay namin ay tricyle drivers at pinagbawalan silang bumyahe noong panahong iyon,” she said.
This prompted Liezl to participate actively in the distribution of food packs and other necessities as part of the relief efforts of different civil society organizations and the local government.
Another volunteer, Perla Adolfo of Quezon City, said that as community leader, it is their duty to inform the authorities about problems in the distribution of relief assistance such as the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
“May mga nabalitaan kaming hindi nabigyan ng SAP na talagang naghihirap at mayroon din namang mga nabigyan na hindi naman pasok sa guidelines. Kailangan talaga ng boses sa bawat komunidad.”
Eventually, Liezl and Perla became part of the so-called “nanay network,” a community monitoring team for the barangay-based system initiated by UrbanisMo and Health from Home (HFH), and supported by a wider civil society coalition. HFH has put together an information hub containing various COVID-19 relief and response efforts for medical frontliners and families-at-risk. Meanwhile, Urbanismo helped gather data to inform a coordinated response to ensure that the poorest and the most vulnerable communities in Metro Manila are given relief assistance.
To ensure that relief packs and other means of support are properly distributed to the most vulnerable communities, UrbanisMo and HFH mobilized volunteers to gather data and feedback from the 500 poorest barangays.
Liezl and other nanay community leaders from different cities documented the assistance given to vulnerable families and identified the weekly pressing needs of the family.
“Through SNPP, nakapili tayo ng community monitors. Ang orientation nila ay through Facebook Messenger Rooms. Gumawa rin kami ng Facebook group to provide our nanays the mechanics on how to conduct the monitoring,” UrbanisMo member Tanya Quijano said.
Juggling between working, taking care of their families, and gathering data for the project despite the health risk, and being uncompensated in their volunteer work, the “nanays” found fulfillment in spite of these challenges and were able to deliver their tasks.
“Masaya na nakakapagbigay kami ng mga datos sa ibang mga organisasyon para makatulong sa mga tao. Masasabi kong mahal ko ang ginagawa ko,” she said.
Perla added that the bayanihan spirit is important at times like this.
“Dapat talaga tulong-tulong tayo, mayroon man o walang pandemya.”