APAYAO, Cordillera Administrative Region—Efforts to improve the economic condition of farming communities here got a big boost as Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano turned-over to the local government a P35.6 million road and bridge project.
“Roads are vital components in the department’s drive to spur rural development in farm communities. This concreted road and bridge would greatly help farmers bring their farm products to the market faster and easier,” said Mariano.
DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted Projects Sylvia Mallari said the road and bridge benefits four barangays namely Allig, Sta. Maria, Balluyan and Malayugan. She said the roads get are rocky and gets very muddy when it rains. The Allig river should, a shallow river, had to be crossed to get to the other side of the road.
“More than 500 farm-households are now benefitting from this road and bridge project. Transportation and transporting farm yield is now faster. More vehicles now ply the bridge and concreted road,” Mallari said.
Lorena Cabarong, a 24-year-old school teacher said going to school is now easier with the road especially with the construction of the bridge. “Before, we would take the longer route to avoid crossing the river. With the concreted road and bridge, we now get to the school a lot faster and without getting our feet muddy and wet,” said Cabarong.
The project was implemented under the DAR’S Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP). It commenced construction in September 2014 and was completed in June 2016. The project was in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Apayao Governor Elias Bulut, Jr. expressed his gratitude to the implementing agencies.
“This road would make transporting agri-products faster. We expect the trade and commerce here to greatly improve,” said Bulut.
After the project turnover, Secretary Mariano with Undersecretary Mallari and Regional Director Atty. Marjorie Ayson, distributed certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) covering 770 hectares to 1,163 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). The agricultural lands are located in Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mt. Province.
Mariano advised the ARBs not to sell their CLOAs nor convert their farmlands into other uses to ensure food security.
The turn-over ceremony and CLOA distribution was attended by DAR Regional Director Atty. Marjorie Ayson, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Deogracias Almora, Apayao Vice Gov. Remy Albano, Flora Mayor Rodolfo Juan, Vice Mayor Jessica De San Jose and District Engineer Daisy Maralag. (30)
Photo 1: Secretary Rafael Mariano (with red head band) and Apayao Gov. Elias Bulut, Jr., cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the turnover of the bridge and farm-to-market road project to the local government of Flora, Apayao. Also in photo: Flora Mayor and Vice Mayor Rodolfo Juan and Jessica de San Jose.
Photo 2: Sec. Mariano inspects the bridge before turning it over to the local government of Flora, Apayao.
Photo 3: Secretary Mariano was hugged by CLOA beneficiary Dick Evasco. Looking on were Undersecretary Sylvia Mallari, Regional Director Atty. Marjorie Ayson, Gov. Elias Bulut, Jr. and Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Deogracias Almora.
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