THE concreting of a 6.5-kilometer farm-to-market road (FMR) in Baliguian, Zamboanga del Norte has started under a World Bank-funded rural development project which aims to boost agricultural production areas in the countryside, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the P76.3-million FMR project will serve some 9,702 beneficiaries, majority of whom are indigenous people belonging to the Subanen and Lalibugan tribes, in an area covering more than 16,000 hectares.
The concreting, which will allow easier access to the Junction National Highway-Mamawan-Diculum-Milidan, will include the construction of spillways and is expected to be completed in 400 calendar days.
The project will be undertaken through a joint venture among JD Construction, River Concrete Construction and Development Corporation and Long Island Builders and Construction.
The project is answered prayer to the people of Baliguian Town, said Mayor Albina Esmali. “It is a dream come true to the people of the upland barangays [villages]who have been living in dismal conditions due to the difficult terrain,” she said.
Esmali explained that nearly half or 3 km out of the 6.5-kilometer stretch is steep slopes and round roads, making the transport of agricultural commodities a challenge.
“Re-gravelling the barangay road after heavy rains will finally end, now that it will be concreted through PRDP [Philippine Rural Development Project],” she said.
Vice Mayor Gali Esmali, who have proposed the subproject under the defunct Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) when he was still the mayor, said that Baliguian was the first and only municipality so far to have been granted with such a massive subproject.
“With a P3-million counterpart funding and endorsement from Zamboanga del Norte, the infrastructure needed by the people of five barangays in Baliguian is now in full implementation,” the vice mayor said.
For his part, PRDP Region 9’s I-BUILD component head Engineer Taripe called for support from officials of the five barangays (Mamawan, Diculom, Milidan, Tamao and Malinao) directly benefiting from the subproject to ensure hassle-free implementation.
Taripe added that the municipality Tampilisan may be the next to benefit from the PRDP, with the rehabilitation and concreting of the Galingon-Balacbaan-Cabong-Tilubong FMR covering 14.38 kilometers with an estimated project cost of P188 million.
“Another huge PRDP infrastructure subproject is the rehabilitation and concreting of Kalawit and Labason FMRs traversing six barangays reaching not less than 32 kilometers with an estimated total project cost of P462 million, the biggest so far throughout the country,” Taripe added.
The PRDP is the Philippine government’s six-year platform for an inclusive, value-chain oriented and climate resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.
Subprojects are implemented under the PRDP’s infrastructure development arm, IBUILD or the Intensive Building of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development Component.
The IBUILD component ensures that the projects are put in strategic places and have climate-resilient rural infrastructure facilities along the value-chain of the champion commodities in each province in the country.