HINDANG, Leyte -- Residents living in six upland villages with poor road networks in this municipality are looking forward to the completion of P13.05-million road construction projects funded by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Implemented under the DILG’s Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM) program, the municipality is a recipient of three road works -- the P5.32-million Baldoza-Capudlosan Road, the P5.75-million Katipunan-Baldoza Road, and P1.980-million Mabagon-Anahaw Road.

All these projects have started in 2017 and were supposed to be completed last month but contractors asked for deadline extension as ongoing works of nearby anti-poverty road project by the Department of Social and Welfare and Development has caused logistical hurdles.

Overall, the project would benefit 3,256 residents in this town’s interior villages, said DILG regional information officer Myles Colasito.

Even with the delay, residents voiced optimism that the project will unlock economic opportunities in farming communities.

Motorcycle driver Ruel Lyanola said the road development would lessen travel time going to the town center to 15 minutes from more than 30 minutes at present. Baldoza village is about 11 kilometers away from the town center.

Before the road project, only motorcycles could reach their village, but now their place is accessible by four-wheel vehicles.

“It was risky for motorists when the road was still muddy and bumpy. There were instances that our passengers fell because of the uneven road,” Lyanola said.

Baldoza village chief Elinito Abne said that with the concreted road, health services are more accessible now.

“Ambulance can now reach our village and it is easier to bring patients to the hospital. In the past, a patient’s health condition worsened on the way to hospital due to bad roads,” Abne told the Philippine News Agency during a project visit with DILG on April 11.

Estrelita Cañete, president of Hindang Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and chair of Hindang Persons with Disabilities Agriculture Cooperative, said their organization stands to benefit from the ongoing road project.

Their group maintains organic vegetables garden in the upland village of Katipunan. They also planted trees to reforest the mountain.

Cañete said that some of their produce were damaged while being transported to the town center because of bad road condition.

As the president of the PWDs organization, Cañete is also part of the project monitoring team that regularly checks the status and ensure that specifications are being followed based on the project plan.

Improving accessibility to upland village is among the priority program of the local government of Hindang, said Mayor Betty Cabal.

“The local government is thankful that the DILG is supporting us by providing funding for the road project,” Cabal said.

She said that since the road has been improved, some high school students living in upland areas do not have to wake up very early to walk from their house to the school at the town center.

Covering 1,373 towns nationwide, the ADM program provides a "catch-up mechanism" to assist municipal governments in increasing citizens' access to basic facilities and ensures participation of civil society organizations in local governance.

Project types funded by ADM program are water system, evacuation facility, local access roads, small water impounding, and sanitation and health facilities. (PNA)