By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has turned over ₱18.4-million worth of road project that would serve as an alternate route for farmers in an upland area in Samar province.
DAR Assistant Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay, who led the turnover and inauguration rites, said the 3.1-kilometer road would provide the more than 1,600 residents of the community, wherein 180 are agrarian reform beneficiaries, faster access to other villages and various markets.
“Instead of passing by the national highway, farmers can already pass through the mountain in going to other communities. The area is also accessible now to all types of vehicles,” Aya-ay said.
Meanwhile, Sta. Margarita town Mayor Gemma Zosa expressed her gratitude to the DAR for the road project as it opened more opportunities to market the farmers’ products, thus a higher income.
She encouraged the farmers to produce more of the “kalinayan” rice or “red rice,” which according to her, is purchased by a well-known department store in Metro Manila, with tie-ups with their municipality in the marketing of this product.
The cost of the project, implemented under the second phase of the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCPA-II), was shared by the national government through a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the local government of Sta. Margarita.
Under the agreement between the ARCP-II and local government, the recipients will allocate funds for the maintenance of the project within 10 years.
Otherwise, the recipients will be shouldering the loan portion of the national government turning grant.
Samar Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Segundino Pagliawan said the project was supposedly a road opening and spot concreting only.
However, through the efforts of the LGU, the farm-to-market road project passing through the mountain area is almost completely concreted.
Tags: Agrarian Reform, Agrarian Reform Communities Project, alternate route, Asian Development Bank, DAR Assistant Regional Director, Department of Agrarian Reform, Ismael Aya-ay, Samar province, upland area