April 18, 2018 – A crowd of local residents cheered loudly in delight and many visitors could not contain their smiles as the local chief executive of Kibawe, Bukidnon, Mayor Minerva Casinabe, lowered the time capsule onto a hole and Ireneo Tigbabao, tribal leader of an indigenous people, poured concrete mix to bury it. The time capsule contains the plan for the Rehabilitation of New Kidapawan – Poblacion Access Road Subproject, a much-awaited rehabilitation of a 3.2-kilometer access road in Barangay New Kidapawan.
The local government of Kibawe proposed the project for funding under the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Project (INREMP), which is bankrolled by the Asian Development Bank, for around Php 15.5M at a cost-sharing ratio of 80:20 between INREMP and Kibawe. Scheduled to be completed within 240 calendar days, the access road has a width of 4-meter carriageway and 1-meter shoulder on both sides by design. It will be split into two parts: the 2.10-km span will be improved into concrete road while the remaining 1.10-km will be subjected to re-gravelling or provision of coarse surface. The local government of Kibawe, through national competitive bidding, had earlier contracted J.T. Gamolo Construction to rehabilitate the road.
“I am so happy and very proud for being the first local government unit among all project sites to implement the rural infrastructure sub-component of INREMP,” said a visibly elated Mayor Casinabe during the ceremony. She further added, “This is an ultimate success to us, despite the difficulties and tedious and very complicated process. We surpassed those difficulties and saw the fruit of our hard labor. Indeed, this project is one of the answers to reduce poverty and uplift the economic well-being of our municipality.”
Other officials witnessing the occasion were Engr. Paquito D. Melicor, Jr., Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services of DENR Region 10, and Forester Moises Butic, INREMP’s Deputy Project Director.
Engr. Melicor looked forward to the successful implementation of the project and emphasized that cooperation and perseverance were two keys to achieve it and overcome challenges that would come along the way.
On his part, Forester Butic expressed his appreciation of the local government of Kibawe for its tenacity in seeing its proposal through to authorities’ greenlighting it. According to him, once completed the rehabilitation of the access road would give convenience not just to the community, but also to future tourists. It would open opportunities for ecotourism knowing that the southern part of Bukidnon, particularly Kibawe, is rich in natural water resources like waterfalls, lakes, and caves, which are ideal for recreational and environmental activities.
It should be noted that farmers belonging to the Basyawon Kisolop Small Upland Farmers Association (BKSUFA) and the Manobo Kirentiken tribe who lives in upper New Kidapawan were identified as the project’s primary beneficiaries.
Finally and for good measure, Mayor Casinabe handed For. Butic a Letter of Intent (LOI) expressing Kibawe’s willingness to implement another rural infrastructure subproject for funding under INREMP. (INREMP/ Rena Almonia, Irish Viola Sta. Ana; FASPS/ Erwin Sangalang)