LUNA, Apayao: What used to be widely known as the lair of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA) in the Cordillera is now free of the rebel group’s presence. The secret – roads to the their stronghold.
Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. said “the peace advocacy is a huge part of this development. One of the reasons why the CPP-NPA probably no longer exists in the province is because we focus, most of the developed areas now were the former strongholds of the rebels.”
Marag Valley here, popularized in the Edu Manzano movie “Col. Madarang” in the mid 1990s, used to be under the rebel group’s control. It is now a popular tourism destination with the people having means of livelihood.
Bulut said that about 15 years ago, the local government, led by Elias Bulut Sr. assessed the province’s condition.
“After 2010 we established our own road map system and we submitted these to the people who waived their road right-of-way,” he said.
Using the plan, they submitted it to the Department of Public Works and Highways a P55-billion road network project to include linking upper and lower Apayao through the Pudtol-Luna-Cabugao road with other provinces. Now, the national roads are 70 percent paved.
Going to these Apayao areas before, one had to pass through Tuguegarao in Cagayan towards Conner and Cabugao towns that had very narrow and unpaved roads.
Bulut said they are also exerting effort to invite hydro power companies to develop the province’s 3,500-megawatt renewable hydro power potentials.