KABAYAN, Benguet – From a stiff and narrow road to a two-lane paved road, residents of barangay Batan in this town now enjoy a smooth 15-minute ride from Halsema Highway to sitio Colong and another 15 minutes all the way down to sitio Ambakian.
Implemented under the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) and the provincial government, the 10.87-km. improvement of Km. 49 to Ambakian farm-to-market road (FMR) was formally turned over to its end users on July 4, 2023 at sirio Colong.
The ceremony was led by representatives of Representative Eric Go Yap and Governor Melchor D. Diclas, together with DA-PRDP Project Support Office North Luzon Deputy Project Director Elma S. Mananes, DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey, Atok Vice Mayor Angelito Galao Sr., Rogel Bastian representing Kabayan Mayor Florante Bantales Jr., barangay officials of Paoay and Batan, and department heads and staff from the provincial and municipal governments.
Linking the towns of Atok and Kabayan, the PhP225 million-worth FMR is now benefitting more than 1,200 households in barangay Paoay, Atok and Batan, Kabayan. It was undertaken by 3K Rock Engineering starting September 2020 and completed December 2022.
During the ceremony, Governor Diclas through his representative Mario Baucas, expressed his gratitude to the residents for having allowed portions of their properties for the road improvement. He further thanked the DA-PRDP, the contractor, and the engineers/staff who contributed in the completion of the road project.
In her message, Mananes stated that the road improvement will usher in more development to the people in the community.
“What we want is ‘yung ma-experience po natin ang magkaroon ng magandang kalsada para magkaroon ang ating farmers ng magandang access. Hindi lang din naman po farmers ang magbebenefit dito pero lahat ng members ng community na ito,” said Mananes.
Odsey further urged the community members to continue supporting each other and their officials as well.
“Ituloy tayu ti panagtitinulong ti umili, panagtitinulong ti opisyales. Tulungan tayo met ti municipal government para iti maintenance na daytoy [nga kalsada],” said Dir. Odsey.
The punong barangays of Paoay and Batan also shared their experiences as they dealt with several issues within the community that arose before and during the road project implementation. They claimed that their experiences will be forever marked in their terms.
Meanwhile, Batan Punong Barangay Mike Botangen was also thankful to the 3K Rock Engineering and Construction for the field office that was turned over to the barangay government of Batan after it was used as field office.
Also turned over was the PhP 8-million-worth enterprise subproject of the Apanberang Farmers Association (AFA) that was held at barangay Pacso, Kabayan, Benguet.
Three hauling trucks were turned over to the AFA for the implementation of their enterprise subproject on hauling and delivery services.
The subproject is seen to address the problem of post-harvest losses. It will also help the farmers to harvest their crops on time and have it delivered to the target market immediately.
During the program, AFA President Rosemarie Dumlao expressed her gratitude to the staff of the Municipal Agriculture Office and the PRDP for assisting them from the start.
The AFA was then congratulated by the DA-PRDP and local officials for their success in the establishment of their enterprise. They are now challenged to prepare their operations manual and work to make the aspirations of its members to have higher income and better quality of life. By Elvy T. Estacio