LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The conduct of out of town meetings by the members of the provincial board, especially in the remote villages of the province, is primarily geared towards bringing the government closer to the people and for local officials to be fully aware of the real situation on the ground.
The latest remote village visited by the members of the provincial board headed by Vice governor Ericson ‘Tagel’ Felipe was sitio Naswak, barangay Ekip, Bokod town which could be reached through over six hours of hiking from the end of a rugged road in barangay Pito, Bokod.
The said sitio has some 93 households who rely on backyard gardening for their daily sustenance as they could not afford to bring their agricultural produce to the nearest market due to the absence of roads leading to the nearest populated area for the said products to be sold.
“We were able to personally witness how difficult life is in our remote villages, especially those that lack roads, that is why the government must focus its resources to develop access roads that will help in addressing the issues and concerns of people living in the countryside” Vice governor Felipe stressed.
He claimed that most of the residents in the area have gone to other places in the province to look for sustainable economic activities and sources of livelihood because of the difficulty of life in sitio Naswak.
The vice governor stated that there is no commercial farm in the area because of the difficulty of transporting farm inputs from the town proper to the place and bringing their produce from the farms to the nearest market that is why people are content in producing their food to survive the difficulty of life.
What is ironic about the prevailing situation in the area is that the closure of a public school because there was only a single enrollee that is why the student will have to walk for at least two hours to be able to attend classes in a nearby sitio which has 15 enrollees.
Vice governor Felipe was accompanied by board members Juan Nazaro, Ruben Paoad and Johannes Amuasen who happen to be part of the committees on agriculture and tourism for them to see for themselves the appropriate interventions that could be done by the provincial government in partnership with concerned government agencies for the upliftment of the living condition of the people in the said area.
Felipe pointed out that government should start focusing its attention in the development of remote villages like in the areas that had been previously visited by the members of the provincial board to encourage people to become productive citizens and contribute to the overall state of the economy and not for them to be left behind in terms of development and reaping the fruits of progress in the future.
He emphasized that the province must maximize its beautiful nature by putting premium on the development of potential ecotourism sites like in sitio Naswak to be able to start bringing the growth potentials of communities to the remote areas and provide people with sustainable sources of livelihood and economic activities that will allow them to live in harmony with nature while benefiting from the projected tourist arrivals because of the desire of foreign and domestic visitors to visit new destinations in the highlands.