AT LEAST 1,577 households, generally belonging to indigenous peoples Subanen tribe, are expected to benefit from the P85.4 million rehabilitation and concreting of a five-kilometer road in Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte.

The Department of Agriculture regional office said in a statement Wednesday, November 30, that the officials of Siayan town led the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, November 29, signaling the start of construction works for the 5.04 kilometers farm-to-market road traversing three villages in the municipality.

Siayan Mayor Alberto Bongcawel regarded the rehabilitation and concreting of Gonayen-Balunokan farm-to-market road as a blessing from God for they longed it to happen for over 50 years.

Bongcawel thanked the World Bank, the European Union and the national government, through the Department of Agriculture, for making their dreams realize.

The P85.4-million Intensified Build-Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development (I-Build) subproject will benefit 1,577 households involved in farming of rubber, corn, coconut and other crops.

“We thank the officials of Siayan for their resilience and perseverance; for not giving up the P10-million budget for their counterpart. Your hard work has finally paid off and now became a

reality,” said DA Assistant Regional Director Maria Melba Wee, who graced the ground breaking ceremony on behalf of DA Regional Executive Director Dennis Arpria.

Siayan Vice Mayor Josecor Gepolongca said that during his stint as the town mayor, the municipality received Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) from the Commission on Audit questioning the unutilized budget amounting to P10 million.

Gepalongca said they did not mind the AOM for the money was intended for their counterpart to the proposed farm-to-market (FMR) road project.

“We hope that this FMR will help uplift the livelihood activities of the people in Siayan,” Gepolongca said.

The officials of the project’s three recipient villages—Gonayen, Balunokan and Datagan—expressed their gratitude to the funders of the project.

They committed to support the implementation and looked forward to their stake in the operation and maintenance of the project. (SunStar Zamboanga)