Officials from the Provincial Local Government Unit (LGU), Paracelis LGUs and from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office (DA RFO) – CAR led the ribbon-cutting rite during the blessing cum inauguration of the Poblacion-Bantay Farm-to-Market road in Paracelis last November 8, 2019. (Front: L-R) Board Member Joshua B. Fronda, Poblacion, Paracelis’ Punong Barangay (PB) Roy Gamonnac, DA RFO-CAR OIC Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey, Paracelis Mayor Marcos G. Ayangwa, Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr., Vice Governor Francis O. Tauli, Bantay, Paracelis’ PB Peter Wasigan. Photo by NDRA
Paracelis – Economic development is expected to spur more in this eastern part of the province with the completion of the first sub-project that was funded under the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).
Last November 8, 2019 was the blessing – inauguration cum turnover of the 40.670 million peso-worth project, “Improvement of the Poblacion-Bantay Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) jointly funded by the World Bank through the Government of the Philippines (80% or P 32, 861, 558.62), the DA (10% or
P 4, 107. 694. 83) and by the Provincial Government (10 % or P 4, 107. 694. 83). The 3.198 kilometer
road project is the first to be finished under the Intensified Building Up of
Infrastructure and Logistics Development or I-BUILD component of the PRDP since
its implementation in the province.
It could be recalled that the sub-project was proposed to the PRDP in December 2014 and was started in April 2017 to support the coffee industry and other commodities of the municipality.
The blessing of the sub-project was officiated by Pastor Roy Lawagan and other members of the religious sector while the ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Department of Agriculture (DA) – OIC Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey and by Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr.. Various LGU officials from the Provincial Government, Paracelis LGU and barangay LGUs and other stakeholders were also in attendance in the ceremony.
In his welcome remarks, Mayor Marcos G. Ayangwa informed the body that the municipality is guided by its present-day mantra, “Kakarefin Towards Development.”
“Kakarefin,” he said is the Gaddang-Balawon Tribe of Paracelis’ term for “walking or advancing together hand-in-hand.”
“This act of holding hands signifies unity towards a noble purpose – development not only for the people of Paracelis but also for all people in Mountain Province,” Ayangwa said.
Moreover, Ayangwa extended his people’s gratitude for the project and expressed his aspirations for more high impact projects that could benefit the easternmost part of the province, particularly the far-flung barangays of Paracelis.
“Maikarkararag baba-en kada Apo Director, da Governor, ken dakayo amin ta sapay kuma ta daytoy laeng ti umuna. Ket manay-nayunan pay kuma iti i-umay nga projects ti PRDP ditoy Paracelis. Iti biyang ti munisipyo gapo ta napintas met daytoy nga programan ti gobyerno. Ada ti kuna ti municipal government met nga maki-participate tayo man met iti makunkuna nga PRDP project ta napintas daytoy nga proyekto. Ti napintas launay ket ti kalidad ti trabaho ta nanggeg ko uray haan ko nakita ngem na-istrikto da kanu… ket sigurado it would last a generation dagitoy da PRDP projects sunga napintas nga umay. So, iti biyang ti municipal government ada men ti in-allot mi nga participation mi in a certain amount for the purpose. Hopefully, ada met iti Provincial Government, ni Apo Governor ken ni Director, ken iti Department of Agriculture. Sapay kuma met ta mapatgan met ti arapa-ap ti Paracelis, ta manaynayunan pay daytoy nga PRDP projects,” Ayangwa pleaded.
The officials of the concerned barangays also expressed support to their municipal officials.
“So, kasjay Apo iti ayat mi wenno ayat ko nga inmay daytoy nga project ket sapay koma ta haan ng agpatingga iti daytoy nga pundo ket manaynayon pay kuma enggana malpas daytoy enggana idiay Roxas, Isabela,” Bantay Punong Barangay Peter Wasigan said.
Furthermore, Mayor Ayangwa urged his constituents to continue uniting and cooperating with their officials for a more progressive Paracelis.
“Without kakarefin, there is no development,” he reiterated.
In response, Governor Lacwasan supported the statements of Ayangwa, that, indeed, people must continue to cooperate and help one another towards development.
“Development is not an overnight matter. Agtitinnulong tayo,” the Governor said.
Lacwasan also committed that his administration will continue to partner with funding agencies to usher development to the various municipalities in the province, particularly in the remote areas.
“We will continuously work for projects, especially FMRs, which will hasten the transportation of farm produce to processing centers and which will hasten the delivery of basic services to the barangays,” he said.
“The 10th Sangguniang Panlalawigan is always ready to do its part to support the programs and projects of the Provincial Government in partnership with funding institutions,” Vice Governor Francis O. Tauli added.
Meanwhile, DA Regional Field Office – CAR OIC Regional Executive Director and Regional Project Coordinating Office – CAR Project Director Cameron P. Odsey commended Gov. Lacwasan’s administration for the successful completion of the first infrastructure project in the province under the PRDP.
“This is the first infrastructure project under the PRDP in Mountain Province; congratulations! This is a good sign that what the people of Paracelis and that of the whole province are aspiring for will come true,” he said.
In his message, Odsey pointed out that the PRDP enabled certain provinces the rare opportunity to avail of millions of peso-worth projects from the Philippine Government as compared to the past wherein LGUs were only able to avail of less than a million peso for FMRs.
He also informed that the PRDP, it being a project, has a certain timeline; thus, it will soon end. However, he said that the DA under the headship of Secretary William Dar is currently negotiating with the World Bank which is the financial source of the PRDP, to allow the Philippine Government through the DA to use the unexpended PRDP funds for some pending project proposals. In relation to this, therefore, Odsey urged all LGU officials in the province to continue crafting project proposals with all the requisites and submit them to the DA RFO – CAR for action once funds shall be available.
“Continue to work on viable proposals which are compliant to set standards and submit them to the office. As gleaned from previous experiences, LGUs who were readily prepared with proposals were able to get bigger chunks of funding from certain projects like PRDP,” he said.
In response, the barangay officials of Poblacion and Bantay, Paracelis also gave their commitment to do their part by ensuring the the project will be protected against destructive activities so it will truly serve their people.
“Iti part iti Poblacion as the Punong Barangay dawatek ken ida-ulok iti ka-barangayak nga protektaran mi iti part ti project nga ada ijay Poblacion. Siguradoek nga dagidiay agparada nga magyan idiay ket nasayaat tapno haan nga madadael ti kalsada,” Poblacion, Paracelis Barangay Chairman Roy Gamonnac said.
“Iti biyang mi nga umili ditoy Barangay Bantay ah ket maikarik nga aywanan mi pay daytoy nga proyekto gapo ta dakami ti makinabang iti daytoy nga project. Ket ipanamnama mi, ipanamnamak apo nga no adda man ti makitak nga mabalin nga maperdi ditoy tumulong kami nga agrepair,” Bantay Punong Barangay Peter Wasigan also committed.
Given the clamor of the people of Paracelis for more projects, Odsey rallied for everyone’s support to the ongoing quest for regional autonomy. This, he said, is the best avenue to usher future projects and development suited for Mountain Province, especially to the remotest barangays.
“With the kind of terrain of Mountain Province and Benguet, to apply the PRDP standards, one has to do some widening in most areas. As a result, a contractor will have to wait until the slope shall stabilize before proceeding with the ground work. This will cause delay in the project implementation and additional expense on the part of the implementing agency,” Odsey cited.
“If only we are autonomous, our own policies and programs suited for us will be used and not those dictated upon by the central office. This is but one of the reasons why we should support autonomy,” he appealed.