DARAM, Samar – Seven barangays, 500 agrarian reform beneficiaries and more than 5,600 residents would benefit from the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) recently turned over farm-to-market road project constructed in this island-municipality.
DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted Projects Sylvia Mallari led the turnover of the 12.4-kilometer all-weather road in Barangay Birawan. She said it is the third and longest road of the municipality located seven kilometers away from the town proper.
“This is in line with the President’s pronouncement to build, build, build!” Mallari said referring to the Build Build Build infrastructure program of the Duterte administration. “Ito’y upang patuloy na mapa-unlad ang kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka, at magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa kapaligiran,” she added.
DAR Regional Director Sheila Enciso said the concreted road passes through seven barangays namely Mabini, Ubo, Birawan, Astorga, Marupangdan, San Vicente and Bono-anon. “More than 5,600 residents in the area would benefit from this road including 500 agrarian reform beneficiaries,” Enciso said.
Enciso said the total cost of the project amounting to ₱48.9-million was shared by the LGU and a loan from the Asian Development Bank by the national government.
She reminded the recipients to maintain the road in good condition for 10 years. “Otherwise the loan portion comprising 40 percent of the total cost will likewise be shouldered by the LGU,” Enciso said.
In his acceptance message, Mayor Philip Martin Astorga stressed the benefits the project would bring to his town. He said residents of the municipality used to travel around the island by motorboat in the absence of a road.
“This road would serve not just the farmers but also the residents of the island. Travelling now is faster for everyone. This [road] would further spur development throughout the island,” Astorga said.
Vice Mayor Lucia Astorga, who was the mayor during the planning stage, thank the DAR making the municipality a recipient of the three farm-to-market roads enabling almost all barangays accessible to farmers and residents. “These roads opened livelihood opportunities to my constituents as well,” Astorga said.
Aside from the convenience they now experience in hauling farm products for trading, Birawan Counsilor Leonardo Papawran enumerated other benefits they are now enjoying with the existence of this road.
He said the road provided many residents another source of livelihood as motorcycle drivers. “The road also serves as an alternate route during bad weather when it is not safe to travel by waters,” said Papawran.
Papawran also emphasized, the youth from other barangays will now be encouraged to enroll at the Birawan National High School.
The road project was implemented under the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP). (Jose Alsmith Soria)
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