From a steep and narrow road to a two-lane paved road, residents of Barangay Batan in Kabayan, Benguet now enjoy a smooth 15-minute ride from Halsema Highway to Sitio Colong and another 15 minutes all the way to Sitio Ambakian after the opening of an improved farm to market (FMR) linking Atok and Kabayan.
Implemented through the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) of the Department of Agriculture and the provincial government, the 10.87-kilometer improvement of Km. 49 to Ambakian FMR (FMR) was turned over to its end users on July 4. Construction started in September 2020 and was completed in December 2022.
The P225-million worth FMR is now benefitting 1,200 households in Barangay Paoay, Atok and Batan, Kabayan.
The turnover was led by representatives of Benguet Rep. Eric Yap and Gov. Melchor D. Diclas, together with PRDP Project Support Office (PSO) North Luzon Deputy Project Director Elma S. Mananes, Department of Agriculture Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey, Atok Vice Mayor Angelito Galao Sr., Rogel Bastian representing Kabayan Mayor Florante Bantales Jr., barangay officials of Paoay and Batan, and department heads and staff members of the provincial and municipal government.
During the ceremony, Diclas through his representative Mario Baucas, thanked the residents for allowing use of portions of their properties for the road improvement. He also thanked the DA-PRDP, the contractor, and the engineers and staff who contributed in the completion of the road project.
Mananes said the road improvement will usher in more development for the community.
“What we want is ‘yung ma-experience natin ang magkaroon ng magandang kalsada para magkaroon ang ating farmers ng magandang access. Hindi lang farmers ang magbe-benefit dito pero lahat ng members ng community.”
Odsey urged the community to continue supporting each other and their officials as well.
“Ituloy tayo ti panagtitinulong ti umili; panagtitinulong ti opisyales. Tulungan tayo met ti LGU para iti maintenance na daytoy nga kalsada”.
Punong barangays of Paoay and Batan also shared their experiences as they dealt with several issues within the community that arose before and during the project implementation. They said their experiences will be forever marked in their terms.
Batan Punong Barangay Mike Botangen also thanked contractor 3K Rock Engineering and Construction for donating its field office.
Also turned over was the P8-M enterprise subproject of the Apanberang Farmers Association (AFA) at Barangay Pacso, Kabayan, Benguet.
Three hauling trucks were turned over to the AFA for its hauling and delivery services subproject.
The subproject will address post-harvest losses by allowing farmers harvest their crops on time and have it delivered to the target market immediately. – Elvy T. Estacio