Agusan del Sur villagers monitor farm-to-market road projects
AGUSAN DEL SUR, Philippines – Do you participate in monitoring infrastructure projects in your area?
In barangays San Isidro, Talacogon, and Songkoy of Esperanza town, leaders and residents actively track the progress of projects in their villages and make sure that these are up to standards.
"Barangay officials should be active in the project implementation to ensure that the needs of the community are met,” San Isidro village chief Ferdinand Lazaga said in Bisaya.
One example of active participation by the villagers was when Lazaga recommended the proper placement of a culvert so as to avert excessive water outflows.
While there is a detailed project plan, Lazaga said that barangay officials and residents make sure that they monitor implementation of projects.
San Isidro villagers are currently monitoring the construction of the 1.4-kilometer Taganahao-San Isidro farm-to-market road, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture through the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP). The FMR costs P14 million.
PRDP, through Investments for Building Up of Infrastructure and Logistics Development (I-BUILD), aims to build reliable infrastructures to link agricultural production areas to markets.
Apart from Barangay San Isidro, villagers in nearby barangays also monitor the status of projects being built in their area. Angelica Aguilar, a village leader in the adjacent town Talacogon, said they also monitor road projects.
“As community leaders, we should play an active role in the regular monitoring of government projects and report any problems or anomaly we encounter,” she said.
They are currently keeping an eye on the construction of Batucan-Malihao-Del Monte FMR which spans about 2.4 kilometers.
Aside from tracking the project's progress, Aguilar said her villagers also make sure that the materials being used are up to standards.
Project contractors have recognized the active participation of residents in the implementation, said Miguelito Baron, village chief of Barangay Songkoy in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte where a kilometer-long Gamoton-Lake Mainit FMR is being constructed.
“We have established a good relationship with the contractor because they inform us if they will conduct cement pouring and other construction activities. We saw that they are transparent,” he added.
Baron said that their LGU has empowered them not only as partners during road inspections but also in ensuring that the projects are sustainable.
Benefits to agriculture
For the villagers, constructing roads are of great help to agriculture.
“This road is really for the farmers who have long endured this muddy and rough road, which severely affected the quality of their produce,” Baron said. "The transport cost of rice produce is now reduced from P30 to only P10."
Lazaga echoed the same sentiments. “FMRs benefit rice farmers who used to go around a seven-kilometer route to reach our barangay. When the road is completed, this will significantly decrease hauling and transport cost as well as travel time,” he said.
For Aguilar, the FMR is a great relief to farmers in their area who used to wait for two hours for their produce to be picked up due to the poor road conditions.
“With this new road, we can easily transport produce to markets. Vehicles can now even go door-to-door to collect our produce,” she said.
Barangay leaders have since passed ordinances to ensure that the concreted roads will be maintained. Among these is not allowing heavy trucks to pass during rainy days.
The FMRS in the three Agusan towns are part of the P966.38-million approved I-BUILD projects for the CARAGA region, 7 of which are under implementation while 12 are undergoing procurement. – Rappler.com