LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 3 (PNA) -- The village head of the remote upland area of San Roque Heights in Bula, Camarines Sur said he was both happy and thankful for the drastic reduction of their tricycle fare, from P100 to P50 per passenger, from Bula town proper to their village and vice-versa.
Village head Alvino Nuñez cited the completion of a P10.7-million farm-to-market road project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that made transport fare affordable.
“The road benefits 4,145 villagers from three barangays: his village, Inoyonan and Itagon,” he noted.
Nuñez said he has just received the certificate that turns over the two-lane road project constructed through DA’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) project.
DA-Bicol records showed the three upland villages in Bula are considered as “very far-flung” with a poverty incidence of 66 percent.
The three mountainous villages, which were known as sites of armed conflicts between government troopers and communist guerrillas, were also often bypassed by development projects, said DA-Bicol.
“The road will also connect to the other barangays of Bula and Balatan (towns),” both in Camarines Sur, said Nuñez.
He said the villagers appreciate the efforts of both the DA and the municipal government of Bula for helping realize the project.
Nuñez added that business opportunities resulting from the newly concreted road network have helped most villagers of San Roque Heights acquire new motorbikes for personal and commercial use.
Lovella P. Guarin of the DA’s regional field office in Bicol said road concreting started immediately after the project was approved in 2015.
She said PAMANA seeks to empower areas affected by armed conflicts by involving the communities in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the projects.
Guarin said PAMANA aims to lessen poverty through the creation of access roads that would link production areas to market centers and ultimately uplift the socio-economic condition of the rural dwellers.
She said extending “development intervention” to “isolated, hard-to-reach, conflict-affected communities” is one way of assuring them they are not being left behind by neighboring areas.
PAMANA remains as the government’s flagship program for areas deemed as “vulnerable” and “affected” by armed conflicts. It has as its implementing partners a number of national line agencies.
Now on its fourth year of implementation, PAMANA is spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process with line agencies and local government units as partners. (PNA) LAP/GVR/MDR/CBD