Farmer describes PRDP FMR ‘malaking alwan’
“Malaking alwan” or a big relief is how Venancio Valencia, a farmer and resident of Brgy. San Gabriel, Victoria in Oriental Mindoro described the first completed infrastructure development (I-BUILD) subproject of the PRDP South Luzon Cluster.
According to Valencia, the “Concreting of Bagong Silang–Macatoc Farm-to-Market Road (FMR)” subproject made transportation easier for the residents of Brgy. San Gabriel. He shared that residents from other barangays also use the FMR that connects to the highway.
With its total subproject cost of P24.59 million, the FMR is expected to bring socio-economic benefits to the barangays of Antonio, Macatoc, San Gabriel, Loyal and Bagong Silang.
“Noong una, ang kalsadang ito ay rough road pa. Medyo mahirap ang daan (This was a rough road before. Passing here was somehow difficult),” Valencia recounted.
He added, “Mas maalwan ngayon. Hindi na sila lalabas pa (sa highway) at doon mag-aantay ng sasakyan (It is more convenient now. They no longer have to go to the highway and wait for vehicles there).”
“The FMR is anticipated to benefit 10,226 individuals in terms of reduction in travel time from 35 to 20 minutes and savings in transportation costs from P35 to P27,” Oriental Mindoro Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit (PPMIU) Focal Person Christine Pine stated.
Brgy. Bagong Silang Chairperson Nilo Mangurale also expressed his appreciation of the PRDP subproject. He said, “Kami po ay nagpapasalamat na kami po ay nabigyan ng magandang proyekto na nanggaling po sa DA pati na po sa PRDP (We are thankful that we were given a good project by DA and PRDP).
“Sa ngayon ay nakita naman namin na talagang napakaganda na ng aming kalsada (We can see that we now have a well-constructed road),” Mangurale said.
Favorable to farmers
The Municipality of Victoria is one of the biggest producers of calamansi in the Province of Oriental Mindoro. According to Mangurale, there are around 7,000 calamansi trees in Brgy. Bagong Silang, which is within the road influence area of the PRDP FMR. He added that more trees will be planted to replace those damaged by recent typhoons.
Like Valencia, the Barangay Chairperson also recounted how hard it was to pass through the rough road. He shared that he and his fellow residents used to have a hard time transporting their produce to the market, because their vehicles usually get stuck in the poor road.
The concreting of the 2.79-kilometer Bagong Silang–Macatoc FMR served as the solution to their problem.
“Ang amin pong mga prutas ay napapadali ang pagdala doon sa pamilihang bayan sa kadahilanan pong napakaganda at maaliwalas pong takbuhan yung kalsada na nanggaling sa PRDP (Our fruits are now easily brought to the public market, because it is very convenient and pleasant to pass through the road provided by PRDP),” Mangurale shared.
Additional benefits to the community
Pine said, “The FMR in Victoria has benefitted 145 skilled and non-skilled workers in terms of job generation during the construction phase.”
The PRDP-funded FMR is also a big relief to the students according to Valencia and Mangurale. The students used to walk to school when the FMR was not yet constructed, because vehicles cannot pass through the uneven road. Now, they just wait for vehicles that pass by the FMR.
Valencia, who also tends a small store along the FMR, shared that the store now earns more as more people plies the newly constructed road. He said that tricycle drivers stop by his store and wait for passengers such as students and other household members. Aside from vegetables and household supplies, the store also sells gasoline for motorists.
The new access road also contributed to the increase in the value of land within the FMR’s influence area. Valencia mentioned that from P300 thousand to P400 thousand, the value of land in the area increased to more than P600 thousand.
Challenge to the community
During the 3rd World Bank review mission to the PRDP South Luzon Cluster, representatives of the Social and Environmental Safeguards (SES) Unit conducted a brief discussion and consultation with the residents of Brgy. Bagong Silang about maintaining the FMR’s good condition.
The Bank’s Rural Infrastructure Engineer Raoul Azanza encouraged the community to continue caring for the road so that it will not be put to waste. He said that it is now the barangay’s responsibility to monitor and maintain the FMR subproject.
World Bank Environment and Social Safeguards Specialists Jonas Bautista and Marivi Ladia advised the barangay to establish size and weight limits for vehicles that pass by the FMR. They also enjoined the residents to be vigilant and implement maintenance measures.
PRDP South Luzon Project Support Office I-BUILD Component Head Allan Tatierra expressed that he felt fulfilled to witness the completion of the Bagong Silang–Macatoc FMR. “Although the subproject is not without some challenges, I am proud to have witnessed its transformation to an FMR from just one of the proposed interventions in the Province’s Commodity Investment Plan,” he said. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-PRDP PSO South Luzon InfoACE Unit)