New road bringing positive change
Damulog, Bukidnon -The impact of a well-paved road is a life changing experience to many of its beneficiaries.
In the far-flung area in Damulog, Bukidnon settles a community which, previously, had no access to concrete road. During the rainy season, the road became a mud-puddle which made transportation difficult. Vehicles got stuck and caused delay to the delivery of farm products.
“We used to haul our products manually and during the rainy season our corn would be damaged to the point that it would sprout because we haven’t delivered it earlier. But now, we find it much easier to transport our farm produce to the center of Damulog. Drying and sealing facilities are now available in our area because of the road,” said Elizabeth Pangandigan, 52 years old and Manobo Indigenous People Leader.
“Before the road was only passable by horses and transportation was costly and travel time was longer. Now, our income improved and we now have our own motorcycle since we have better roads now and delivery of our goods became faster,” added Pangandigan.
The inaccessibility of roads resulted to higher transportation costs. Farmers need to pay for double hauling with P10.00 per sack for transport from the farm to the nearest road and another P20.00 to Damulog.
“Now, our transportation per sack lowered to P5.00 and our travel time decreased from 3 hours to around 20 to 25 minutes,” said one of the farmers Clemente Pontejos.
The 13km rehabilitation and concreting of Sitio Sinayaran-Pocopoco to Tangkulan FMR worth P188 million is still on its 14.71% completion with two sections already completed.
“There are completed sections of the road and these portions are one of the most difficult portions during the rainy season,” said engineering staff Jorito P. Almacen of the local government unit of Department of Engineering office.
“Though our construction is still not 100% complete we can see that there are already improvements in terms of their travel time when delivering their products from the farm. Residents here are showing extra effort in developing their farm now that they see the construction is ongoing,” continued Almacen.
Before, peace and order in Damulog was also challenged by feud among the Muslim, Christians, and Lumad. According to Municipal Planning and Development Officer Amelo C. Agustin, one of the reasons they proposed for this PRDP project is to make the road as one of the instruments to unite them and bring peace among the residents here.
“With this access road and the signed peace agreement between the LGU and MILF, the conflict was resolved and through the existing agreement, peace and order will remain,” he said.
“Soon, if this project will be completed, we will allocate a budget for the operation and maintenance. Economically we would also want to give some interventions for the farmers where they can increase their farm produce and they can really utilize the road. The road will also encourage interaction among the barangays and encourage them to participate more in the economic activities,” added Agustin.
As part of the emerging benefits, during emergencies, ambulances can now enter the interior community because of the road. More schools have been established in remote areas in the barangay and more children can now go to school. Teachers now can ride a motorcycle going to school because the road is passable now by any vehicle.
As part of the LGU’s monitoring activity, they are monitoring the number of new houses built along the road to see the net effect in the social and economic improvement of the road.
“We are thankful to PRDP despite the fact that it took us 4 years to have this project. Still, it’s a good project. As of now, we can already see the benefits. People here have high hopes and it [the project] boosts their moral. We are bringing the government to the people,” said Agustin. (Joy M. Montecalvo, PSO Mindanao InfoACE Team)