BONTOC, Mountain Province – Personnel from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Peace and Development Office of the Philippine Army were in town recently to assess implemented projects funded by their offices.
Specifically, they assessed projects implemented in Sadanga and Besao where they also met with officials and beneficiaries.
Sadanga mayor Jose Limmayog admitted that some water works projects could not yet serve the intended beneficiaries due to some problems but said that it could be ironed out through public meetings. He likewise said that he has formed a group to sit down with land owners affected by the proposed road to barangay Belwang, the farthest area in the municipality without a road network.
“There is already a group to talk things out with affected land owners. Hopefully, negotiations will bear fruit so that we can push through with the proposal. Building a road from barangay Sacasacan to Belwang could boost economic activity in the area,” the mayor said.
At Besao, the group motored through the 28 kilometer Besao-Abra road. The newly opened road which was funded mainly by PAMANA is the only direct route from the province to Abra. Starting at Poblacion, Besao the road winds through barangay Tamboan and enters barangay Tubtuba in Tubo, Abra.
“This is a legacy project. It is the nearest way to Abra. Given more funding to sustain the road the year round, it will hasten the development of the remotest barangays of Mountain Province and Abra,” observed OPPAP’s Thomas Killip.
Residents of Tubtuba and the nearby barangays of Be-ew and Kili usually market their produce in Besao and Sagada where they also buy their daily basic needs. It is likewise on these municipalities where they avail of medical attention being more accessible than the nearest health facility in Abra.
The road network is also seen to improve the tourism industry of both provinces as it snakes through wide open areas where mountain ranges spiked by the towering Tirad Pass could be viewed.
Joining Killip in the Besao to Abra trip were OPPAP Peace Accords Management Director Susan Marcaida, Joey Olpindo, Colonel Merrill Sumalinog of the Peace and Development Office of the Philippine Army, governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., vice governor Francis Tauli, Besao Mayor Johnson Bantog, Sagada mayor James Payko Pooten, and Marceline Bahatan from the Cordillera Bodong Administration.
“We did not only see it. We also felt it. After our visit, we will be making our assessment and come out with suggestions to higher offices,” answered Marcaida when asked of her comments on the implemented projects.
Among the infrastructure projects which is soon to start is the Betwagan (Sadanga) road opening and the Besao-Abra road improvement.
On the same visit, former Cordillera People’s Liberation Army surrendered their firearms. The turned over firearms include 2 buch shots, 1 M1 garand rifle, 1 vintage rifle, 1 22 caliber rifle, and 1 22 caliber revolver.
By Angel Baybay