The construction of Barangay Nantawakan Tire Path finally broke ground, bringing promises of better accessibility and transportation to its intended beneficiaries. The road project was proposed by the Bingo-Nadalin Upland Farmers Association Inc. (BNUFAI), a partner people’s organization of the Forestland Management Project (FMP), and endorsed by officials of Barangay Nantawakan and the local government of Kasibu.
The construction of the 3.7-kilometer concrete road amounts to PhP 16.8 million and is funded under the Agroforestry Support Facilities (ASF) subcomponent of FMP. The road rehabilitation project primarily intends to facilitate access to the 863-hectare agroforestry and forest tree plantations established by BNUFAI within the Manga Sub-watershed, an area covered by the Upper Magat and Cagayan River Basins. With an influence area of 2,300 hectares, the road, once it reaches completion, is expected to provide benefits to about 820 residents of the town of Kasibu.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Kasibu Municipality Mayor Alberto Bumolo said the village residents had long been dreaming of the concrete road. He urged the village residents to take good care of the road so that more people could reap great benefits from it.
The local chief also called for the cooperation of the local community, so that more projects from the National Government and JICA could be extended to its residents.
The need for close collaboration between the local government and the community was further affirmed by Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla when he expressed support to the current and future activities of the project.
“If there are other projects they wish to add, we are here to extend help to the residents of Barangay Nantawakan and the people’s organization who made the initiative for this JICA-funded road project to exist,” Governor Padilla said in Ilokano.
Foresters Edmundo Malupeng and Marlon Atienza, Focal Person of FMP in Region 2 and Head of FMP Central Project Management Office Technical and Planning, respectively, lauded the commitment of the local chiefs in extending their support to the fulfilment of the project’s road rehabilitation project. They, however, emphasized that the road should primarily support the site development (SD) activities of the FMP.
Paving the Future
Residents are optimistic about the project. Alex Payacgui, village chief of Barangay Nantawakan, said that the proposal of the Nantawakan Tire Path was in response to the needs of his fellow farmers.
“I saw that most farmers here experience hardships in selling their products to the nearest market due to the inaccessibility of roads,” shared Payacgui in Filipino.
Similar to Payacgui, John Juan, president of BNUFAI – an FMP’s assisted people’s organization, also expressed his excitement since the concrete road would improve the trade of agricultural products in the area.
“It will now be easier for us to transport our products to the market. Our farmers will no longer suffer through bad transport system to deliver their produce,” the 56-year old farmer said in Filipino.
Juan, a farmer for more than 20 years, has been farming ginger, squash, string beans, and other fruit trees. Under the site development activities of FMP, farmers like him have been contracted to grow calamansi and cacao. They also plant forest trees like narra for the Project’s forest rehabilitation efforts and gmelina and mahogany for fuelwood production.
Apart from better delivery of agricultural products, Juan said that the road improvement would make healthcare facilities more accessible to them.
“It will now be less challenging to take people with ailments to healthcare centers,” he shared.
The Nantawakan Tire Path is expected to reach completion in March 2019. It is one of the four ASF infrastructure subprojects in Nueva Vizcaya.
In 2017, the project approved ten ASF infrastructure projects, composed of tire paths, bridges, pathways, and access roads. With a total cost of PhP189 million, six of these infra projects are with ongoing civil works; the rest are undergoing procurement processes. (FMP/ Paolo Balderia)