June 17, 2024

The improved Ato-Engan-Lamagan-Atowanan-Mobo farm-to-market road (FMR) worth P32 million was turned over to Barangay Patay, Sagada, Mountain Province.
The project was implemented by the Department of Agriculture-Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (DA-INREMP) and municipal government.
The FMR is the second highest funded infrastructure in the Upper Chico River Basin. The INREMP, under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, aims to rehabilitate the four major river basins in the country.
 The six-kilometer road benefits 426 households. It allows the community to transport their farm produce with ease and cut travel time. The main commodities in the community are coffee, sugar cane, heirloom rice, and highland vegetables.
During the ceremony, DA-Cordillera Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey emphasized the need to protect the watersheds.
He said watersheds are a source of life and will benefit not only the Cordillera but also the downstream users of the Cagayan Valley and Isabela.
He emphasized the need to preserve the forests to sustain agriculture.
Odsey challenged the people of Sagada to sustain government programs and projects for their own benefit and future generations.
Mayor James B. Pooten, Jr. expressed his gratitude to the implementing and funding agencies for making the FMR possible.
Vincent T. Andawi, a farmer beneficiary and one of the landowners who donated parts of his land for the improvement of the road section, said before, farmers had difficulties navigating the roads, especially during the rainy season when the roads get slippery. As a result, farmers incurred losses because they cannot deliver their products when the market price is high. The quality of their products also deteriorates.  
During the turnover, 13 Barangay Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Team members were also recognized for monitoring and ensuring the quality of projects.
The ceremony was attended by Vice Mayor Felicito Dula, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Joel Behis, municipal and barangay officials, a representative from the Benguet Builders, and DA personnel. – Leny D. Mendoza