NegOr town mayor seeks funds for road project
By Roi Anthoni Lomotan / Philippine Information Agency
PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar (L) interviewing Siaton Mayor Fritz Diaz (R) during the Laging Handa Network Briefing News on July 21, 2021. (Screencap from Radyo Pilipinas FB Page)
DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental – The mayor of a town identified for the government’s End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) approach in Negros Oriental is appealing to the national government for funding of a road-concreting project that will benefit residents living in hinterland areas.
Siaton Mayor Fritz Diaz made the appeal in an interview with Presidential Communications Office Sec. Martin Andanar during a recent Network Briefing News episode, as he sought funds for the road concreting project in Brgy. Tayak which is an identified ELCAC Priority Area in the province.
Officials of the Negros Oriental Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF ELCAC), along with the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP), visited the remote village to conduct a "Dagyawan sa Barangay" where they promised residents a P240-million road-concreting project.
“Hoping ang mga tao dito (na) hindi pa nakatikim ng daan na matino. They are using horses. Ang 4x4 nag-ooverheat doon. Kaya pag may doktrina yung NPA eh syempre totoo ang sinasabi ng NPA kasi di umaabot ang gobyerno doon (The residents there are hopeful their road will be concreted. They are using horses for transport. A 4x4 vehicle usually overheats when it travels to the said area. People will be convinced easily by the New People's Army because they cannot feel the government’s presence there),” Fritz said.
The mayor said their municipal government they can only provide around P6 million for the said project.
"Dahil sobang kaunti ng pera natin at na-realign pa dahil sa pag-start ng COVID, hindi tayo naka-prepare. We are trying our best kung ano makaya natin (We have limited funds and we have realigned them for COVID programs at the start of the pandemic. We were not prepared for this but we are trying our best),” Diaz said.
The mayor said the project would result to the development of the village since the farmers can utilize the land for farming and agriculture, adding that the soil in the area can be used for corn production.
However, the farmers in the barangay do not cultivate the crop as it is not profitable for them in view of the expenses it would incur to transport their produce and the cost of corn milling.
Siaton is known as the rice bowl of Negros Oriental.
The town's other local produce include carrots, broccoli, and high-value crops like cassava.
Diaz said the residents have turned to planting crops that will be ready for harvest after three months during the pandemic.
Through this, they will be able to earn within a short span of time.
Meanwhile, in the same interview, Andanar relayed the response of Department of Interior and Local Government Usec. Marlo Iringan to the mayor's concern.
Iringan said no ELCAC priority barangay in Central Visayas has been identified as beneficiary for the Sustainable Support to the Barangay Development Program (SBDP) for 2021.
SBDP is anchored on good governance, community empowerment, and effective delivery of basic services with the aim of upholding the welfare of people and fully eradicate the roots of insurgency in communities and the financial assistance given to these barangays can be used for the construction of roads.
“But for 2022 SBDP, there are three proposed barangays in Siaton that will be covered namely: Barangay Tayak, Barangay Apoloy, and Barangay Mantiquil,” Andanar said.
Each barangay will receive P20 million funding assistance for their ELCAC-related programs. (RAL/PIA7 Negros Oriental)