Cordillera Administrative Region – The Department of Social Welfare and Development has formally turned over a farm-to-market road (FMR) to the community of Barangay Benben in La Paz, Abra. This community-built 100 linear meter road which was implemented under the Kalahi-CIDSS through the funding of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Millennium Challenge Account – Philippines (MCA-P) will benefit 135 households in the said area.

The project, amounting to PhP 2,854,320.94, covers road concreting and gravelling along Barangay Benben to Barangay Pamisilan. The community started the project last March 2013 and completed the project last 30 November 2014. Barangay Captain Ricardo Todiño, Jr, who also serves as the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) Chairperson said the construction of the Farm-to-Market Road has been their priority among other proposed sub-projects since this will be where everyone from their community would most likely benefit from. “Adu ti matulungan na daytoy nga proyekto. Dagiti apan ag-obra, ubbing nga mapan ag-iskwela, dagiti buntis nga kasapulan nga agpacheckup, amin kami ditoy, haan kamin nga marigatan. (Many of us here will benefit from this project. Those who will go to work, children who will go to school, the pregnant women who needs to go for a check-up, every one of us here will never have to suffer anymore.)”

The community of Benben is one of the most remote barangays of La Paz, Abra. Being one of the farthest barangays, they have minimal infrastructure support thus the community lacks access to transportation services, social services, and economic stability.

The major source of income of the community mostly comes from crops production and handicrafts. However, their products are almost not sold because these are hardly transported to the market and nearby municipalities specifically during the rainy season. During these times, the road is dangerous, muddy, and slippery for vehicles. Thus, most of the time, no vehicles, not even tricycles attempt to go to the area. Same effect it does to the children coming from Sitio Kariskis and Sitio Pamisilan attending at Benben Primary School who incur several absences all throughout the year. During dry season, most of them miss school due to sickness related to respiratory infections when they are exposed to road dust.

Community Volunteer Gloria Galera, who also served as a member of the Barangay Representation Team, shared that they have long been waiting this project to be completed. “Haanen marigatan nga mapan ag-iskwela dagiti annak mi. Haan dan nga agawid nga kapitpitak nu panagtutudo. Maysa pay, nalaka min nga maiangkat ti produkto mi nga ipan idyay Poblacion ken idyay Bangued. Nalaka pay en nga makapan dagiti lugan ditoy barangay min. (It will not be hard for our children to go to school anymore. They do not have to go home with muddy feet during the rainy season. We are now able to easily transport our goods to Poblacion and Bangued. Also, vehicles can now access and reach our barangay.),” Gloria shared.

Meanwhile, Vice-Mayor Ching Bernos, who also graced the turnover ceremony, thanked the community for patiently working on the project. The MLGU and the community were able to deliver PhP 522,0001.29 Local Cash Counterpart in cash and in kind for the implementation of the sub-project. “Agtitinnulong tayo. Naswerte tayo ta adda iti Kalahi-CIDSS nga tumulong kanya tayo, isu nga ipakita tayo nga kaya tayo met nga i-mentenar daytoy baro nga kalsada tayo. (Let’s continue to work together. We are lucky to have Kalahi-CIDSS to help us. Let us show them that we can maintain our newly-constructed road project.),” Vice Mayor Bernos said during her message.

This year, Barangay Benben will continue to do road concreting and gravelling for the remaining 500 meters of their barangay road for 3rd cycle under MCC. The program follows the Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) which involves the community in local planning, budgeting, implementing, and monitoring. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, STRELLE C. QUEJADO

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