SAGADA, Mountain Province -- Funds don’t just land in the coffers of a local government unit. It takes identification, proposals and follow-up to make funds come through.
For the northern Sagada barangay beneficiaries of P35 million worth of Pamana projects -- farm to market roads, health centers, water facilities, school buildings -- released to the local government of Sagada started with the barangay captains’ identification of their desired community projects with the help of the 501st Infantry Brigade (IB) of the 5th Infantry Division particularly, the 54th Infantry Battalion stationed in Mountain Province.
Colonel Miguel Puyao of the 501st IB said the development fund started with the identification of barangay officials of community projects implemented with government military forces in 2010.
The Pamana projects or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayayan implemented under the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Peace Process (OPAPP) was earlier called Kalayaan sa Barangay (KBP), a program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in conflict areas under then former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. This program aimed to fight insurgency and help communities where conflict abound. The government provides funds for farm to market roads, waterworks and community infrastructure through the presence of military elements in particular areas.
The northern barangays of Bangaan, Madongo, Aguid, and Fidelisan are areas where both the military and the New People’s Army (NPA) pass through the same pathway going to Abra. It was in the late 80s when fierce fighting happened atop Mt. Sisipitan located just above the northern villages bringing fear among the people to go out and tend to their farms.
Puyao said the Municipal Council of Sagada followed up the barangay initiated projects and in the process the 501st IB then headed by General Rommel Gomez coordinated with the Department of National Defense and the OPAPP for the programming of development funds.
To include Sagada as a Pamana beneficiary, considering its history of being a conflict area between the NPA and government military forces, resolution No. 01-2010 was passed by the Municipal Council headed by Vice Mayor Richard Yodong of Sagada.
Additional Municipal Council resolutions 145-2011, 156-2011, and 157-2011 identified farm to market roads at Aguid and northern barangays and personally handed to Gomez and Department of Agriculture regional director Marilyn Sta. Catalina to firm up earlier identified projects. (Gina Dizon)