ETHEL Parafina lamented the daily ordeal that farmers and school children in Barangays Dayap and Silangang Maligaya in Agdangan, Quezon had been going through, while negotiating a poorly conditioned road to sell their harvests and attend classes, respectively, in the town proper.
Parafina, chairperson of the Agdangan Agrarian Reform Communities Cooperative (AARCC), shared a life-threatening incident sometime ago when the cooperative’s Elf truck that was fully loaded with newly harvested coconut and hitchhiking barangay residents nearly slid back because of the muddy and slippery road.
“We had to scramble for rocks to serve as blocks against the truck’s tire to keep it from sliding back. Since there were too few rocks available, we decided to use our coconuts until we finally succeeded in staving off the truck’s descent,” Parafina said.
Experience like this would become a thing of the past after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) formally opened to traffic over the weekend a five-kilometer farm-to-market road and a 35-linear meter bridge component that would make travelling to and from the said barangays a worthwhile experience.
Undersecretary for Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Herman Ongkiko led the simple ceremonies where he turned over to the barangay officials the farm-to-market road and the bridge component, which cost P35.6 million combined.
Ongkiko cited the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the biggest contributor of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines with P21.5 billion, thus far, for making a reality the long cherished dream of the farmers and residents of the two barangays. Japan Embassy First Secretary Kenji Terada and JICA representative Yohshiyuki Ueno attended the simple rites.
Also gracing the affairs were Agdangan Mayor Rhadam Aguilar, his wife, former Agdangan Mayor Vicenta “Venchie” Aguilar, DAR Regional Director Rodolfo Pangilinan and Quezon II Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Cornelio Villapando, among others.
Barangay Dayap chairman Gerardo Jimenez said the farm-to-market road and the bridge would help reduce transportation cost from P100 to P30 and travel time, from an hour to 15 minutes.
“This is a big relief for us,” Parafina said, adding: “We can now easily keep ourselves updated with the current market price of copra, much unlike before when the difficulty of travelling kept us guessing, which often resulted to us getting the raw end of the deal.”
Parafina said vegetable farmers would also greatly benefit from the newly rehabilitated road and constructed bridge as their harvests would reach the market in time and still fresh, unlike before when they ended up already spoiled.