February 9, 2023

LUNA, Apayao – More than 1,500 residents of the two villages of the province which were threatened by New People’s Army rebels are expected to benefit from the government’s road projects in the area.
These are the 11-kilometer road project that will connect three villages – Sta. Maria, Mallig, and Upper Atok to the main road system and the first phase of the road opening at Barangay Malayugan.
Upper Atok and Malayugan in Flora are listed under the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (Elcac) barangays.
Upper Atok covers a part of Paco Valley, which used to be a stronghold of NPA rebels.
“It is adjacent to Barangay of Pudtol. It was used by our friends (NPA rebels) as a passage in going to Lasam and Rizal towns in Cagayan in the 1980s. Sometimes they also spent a few days there,” Flora Mayor Rodolfo Juan said.
Juan recommended for Upper Atok and Malayugan to be included in the 49 Elcac village list in the Cordillera.
Both are classified as threatened villages.
Juan said Malayugan was also listed as it is a convergence of “those who come from Kalinga, Mountain Province, and the Ilocanos to the lowlands.”
“When these projects are completed, the residents in Malayugan and Upper Atok will have easier access to the market. They can easily bring their quality banana produce to the market,” Juan said.
Aside from the road project, the region’s longest cave was also assessed and evaluated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a potential tourist destination.
“We have signed a memorandum with the organization that will manage the destination,” Juan said.
He said both villages are frequently visited by local government officials to remind the people that the government cares for them.
“The municipal government is doing its best to bring government services to the farthest villages so that the residents can feel the sincerity of the programs of the government,” the mayor said. – PNA release