BONTOC, Mountain Province – Previously a dirt road, the improvement of Balitian, Bontoc Ili- Dalican farm-to-market road (FMR) project will benefit a total of 204 households in Barangay Dalican, Bontoc, Mountain Province.
The inauguration, turn-over, and acceptance ceremony of this FMR was held on August 28, 2020.
The inauguration of the multi-million road project resulted from a convergence of efforts by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Program (INREMP), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU).
The project costing P23, 213,650.45 was funded by the DA-INREMP with a cost-share of P20, 428,012.40 and Bontoc LGU counterpart of P2, 785,638.05.
The people in Barangay Dalican, like the other outskirt barangays of Bontoc, are dependent on agriculture as their source of livelihood. Among the commodities produced by farmers in Dalican are rice, camote/ sweet potato, banana, petchay, Snap beans, squash, eggplant, okra, ampalaya, corn, and peanut.
Aside from this, the farmers now produce quail eggs, and other produced-products from the livelihood projects they receive from the government.
Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey, in his message during the ceremony, shared his experience of walking from the national road going to Barangay Dalican when he first entered politics as candidate for Sangguniang Bayan member of Bontoc in 1993.
He remarked he never forgot his experience of walking through the mountain trails to reach the villages/barangays in Bontoc witnessing the hardship of the people carrying loads of their products to the market.
Thus, when the national government through the DA- INREMP requested project proposal from the municipal government, he did not have second thoughts of proposing the improvement of Balitian, Bontoc Ili- Dalican FMR.
With this, he urged the beneficiaries of the completed road project to sustain the productivity of their agricultural lands.
“The completion of one of our priority road projects will spur agricultural and economic activities of the people in Barangay Dalican because they can now easily transport their produce to the market”, the mayor added.
Odsey likewise committed the support of the municipal government on the maintenance of the road in any occurrence of natural disaster, which should be inevitable.
The mayor thanked the DA-CAR through Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey, DENR, and ADB for the unending assistance and support to the municipality geared towards uplifting the living conditions of the people.
Punong Barangay Reynald Waking likewise extended the profound gratitude of the people of Dalican to the DA, DENR, ADB, the municipal government, and other concerned agencies for the realization of the FMR project.
He recalled his experience during his childhood to adolescence years that he had to walk kilometers carrying on his back commodities from the national highway in Balitian going up home to Dalican. With the improvement of the road, travel time is shortened thus reducing the hauling cost of goods, decrease vehicle operating costs and reduce post-harvest losses on perishable goods, especially that the main source of livelihood is farming.
“We are happy and grateful to the government for the improvement of Balitian, Bontoc Ili- FMR, and other livelihood projects that it brings to our community. This road project is a dream come true for the people in Dalican,” Waking mentioned.
Waking added that the road improvement will also benefit the tourists wanting to visit the scenic tourist destinations in Dalican.
Odsey mentioned that the project came into fruition due to the support of all the concerned agencies, the municipal government, and the community.
He likewise expressed high hopes that the project shall serve its purpose – to improve the lives of the community.
Also present during the occasion are officials from the DENR, Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) Beverly Pekas of DA-Mountain Province, Erlindo Agwilang representing Mountain Province Congressman Maximo Dalog, Jr., Executive Assistant Marcelino Balaso representing Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., Sangguniang Bayan members, municipal employees, Dalican barangay officials, and the Dalican community.
By Alpine L. Killa