December 2, 2022

To help strengthen communication in four towns in Benguet, the Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera turned over sets of radio communication equipment under its Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) project on June 27 in Tublay.

The DOST-CAR identified Kibungan, Kapangan, Sablan, and Tublay as beneficiaries of the project that targets fourth to fifth-class towns.

DOST-Benguet Provincial S&T Director Sheila Marie Claver said their office partnered with municipal disaster risk reduction management officers to identify the beneficiaries and needs of these sites.

Claver said their staff earlier conducted radio network propagation tests as far as Barangay Tacadang in Kibungan, considered one of the farthest barangays in the province, to determine the actual needs of the barangays.

Identified barangays in each town do not have good communication signals due the terrain and the lack of telecommunication signals in the sites.

During the turnover ceremony attended by the municipal mayors, the DOST-CAR gave out radio communications equipment composed of handheld radios, radio base, mobile, solar panel system, batteries and inverters.

This is one of the facets of the CEST project under the Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Change Adaptation program aimed at improving the Disaster Risk Reduction Management of the identified beneficiaries. The program is funded through a grant by the DOST-CAR.

Claver said the radio communication equipment was completed for Kibungan and Tublay.

Equipment for Kapangan will also be deployed this year, while partial deployment shall be done for Sablan for its phases 1 and 2 to be implemented next year.

Kibungan Mayor Cesar Molitas said the radio equipment is helpful especially for the isolated barangays of Tacadang and Badeo.

He said DOST-CAR earlier gave the municipality funding to buy handheld radio in these sites, which they did, but was not effective as they needed to establish a base radio station.

This is where the CEST program comes in to improve the radio communication setup where base stations will be put up at sitios Cullang and Batangan in Tacadang and one in Badeo.

“This is really what we are expecting in case of emergency because those areas are unreachable by signal. I hope in the coming years we will be able to complete our road going there to at least reach those areas by vehicle,” Molitas said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways has an ongoing road project going to Tacadang. Molitas said even if the road shall be opened, some areas in Tacadang still need to be travelled on foot so radio communication is greatly needed.

Kapangan Mayor Manny Fermin, meanwhile, said the project would also be useful not only during natural calamities but also for emergency purposes like those with medical needs in the identified areas.

He said the DOST identified barangays Cuba, Boklaoan, Taba-ao and parts of Barangay Beleng-Belis and Balakbak, Gadang, and Gasweling, where signal is difficult.

Claver said the National Telecommunications Commission would assist the municipalities and barangays to have permits for the establishment of their communication system. – Ofelia C. Empian