SAN MIGUEL ISLAND  TABACO, CITY –  The  entire community of Barangay Hacienda  of this island  was  in a festive mode  with the makeshift  covered court festooned with multi-colored flaglets  and the barangay officials and  residents in jovial mood as they  gather  for the ground breaking ceremonies to signal the start of the  civil works for the rehabilitation/improvement  of the  existing single lane  road  in the  three adjoining barangays  Hacienda, Angas and Vista. The  proposal of the City government of Tabaco   for this sub-project  under the Philippine Rural Development Project   (PRDP) of the Department of Agriculture has finally been issued a No Objection Letter on November  25, 2018 by the World Bank, the major  funding  agency .  The  Farm-to-Market Road  with  8.3 kilometers  length and 10 meters width  including the  road shoulders is worth P192.74 million.  Of this, 80% would come from the WB; 10% from the Philippine Government thru the DA and 10% from the City government of Tabaco.

                Tabaco City Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman -Luistro accompanied by the vice-mayor, city councillors and department heads led the guests to the  island  which is about 30- minute ride by motorized boat.   She was  joined by  PRDP South Luzon Deputy Director  Shandy M. Hubilla,  DA Bicol  OIC Regional Executive  Director Rodel P. Tornilla,  PRDP Bicol Deputy Project Director, Adelina M. Losa  other DA staff and personnel  and the managing  officer  of the Legazpi  Premium Development Corporation /3RB Construction and Supply, the winning contractor.

                Mayor Lagman  thanked the DA  and the PRDP officials for not giving up on them  even after some snags and setbacks  in the  packaging of their proposal which took almost two years to be refined and approved.  She also thanked the over 60 Project Affected Persons (PAPs)  for yielding their  rights  to their  land and properties  to give way to the project.

                “Bako lang tinampo ang mahahaman digdi.  Pag napakarhay  na ang tinampo pwede na kita maglaag ki lying facility o kaya Rural Health Center asin iba pang facilidad.   (It is not only a road that we will be constructing here.    Once the road is rehabilitated we can contruct a lying-in facility or even a Rural Health  Center  and other facilities).

                The mayor bared that the island with over 15,000 population  is the second biggest producer of sweet potato in the Albay province with 260 hectares planted to this crop in the island.   She  said that the project will be a big boost to the  sweet potato producers.

                For his part, newly assumed DA-Bicol OIC Regional  Executive Director, Rodel Tornilla acknowledge  the  vital role of the City Government proponent  team who prepared the proposal and ciuted  the crucial  role of the City Council  which approved the  budget  allocation  as the LGUs counterpart to the project.  He stressed the importance of a road network.  “Kapag  may tinampo and lugar, diyan nagpupuon  ang trabaho, negosyo asin asenso.” (The construction of roads opens up job opportunities  , business  and progress)

                Meanwhile,  PRDP Deputy Director  Hubilla  recalled the tedious process that  the project  proposal went through  before it was finally approved.  He likened it to the long courtship and engagement that a couple  has to go through  prior to  marriage. He congratulated  Mayor Luistro  and her team   for their perseverance and tenacity despite the  many  difficulties, setbacks and the tedious process  they have to go through .

                Hubilla reminded the LGU  and the project beneficiaries and stakeholders that the project does not end  with the completion of the FMR  but should lead to more opportunities for enterprise development.

                He also urged the community to be vigilant in monitoring the project implementation and ensuring that the standards  and quality have been strictly complied with.  He cited the Citizens Monitoring Tool which they can use for this purpose. .

                Vice Mayor San Pablo  asked the DA to help them  in their food production program .    He pointed out that the continuous planting of sweet potato  in the island over the past years has resulted to a decline in production and smaller-sized potatoes ,thus the  need for soil  analysis.

                One of the would-be beneficiaries of the project  is Adelina  Balingbing of barangay Hacienda who have high hopes on the project. “Dakulaon  po ang maitatabang  samo kaining pagpakarhay  kan tinampo. Segurado ako mas dakul ang oportunidad na maitatao kaini  sa bilog na isla.  Makakatabang ini para mas mapadali  an samong pagdara kan mga produkto mi  sa  mainland Tabaco.  Mas dakul kikitaon mi pagtinda.  Sa ngunyan ang presyo  kan sarong lata ning kamote nagkakantidad ning P200.  Pano pa daw kung mas dakula na ang agihan, mas dakulang sasakyan  ang puwede magtransport  kan samuyang produkto, mas dakul na kaming  maiuuli sa samong pamilya. (This  rehabilitation of our road will be a great help. I”m sure  this will  bring  about  bigger opportunities for the entire island.  This will  facilitate the faster transport  of our product to mainland Tabaco. We will be earning more. At present the  price of a canful of sweet potato costs  P200.  How much more if our roads are wider – bigger vehicles will be transporting our products.  We will  have  a bigger income for our family).

                Aside from the groundbreaking a ceremonial reading and awarding of the Notice of Award to the winning contractor  and acceptance of the award was made.  (Emily B. Bordado DA-RPCO V /photos By Raymond Adversario- DA-RAFIS 5)

Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro of Tabaco City, thanked the residents of San Miguel Island for supporting the construction of 8.3 km Rehabilitation/Improvement of Hacienda to Rawis  Farm to Market Road project of the Philippine Rural Development Project.

OIC-Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla said that the FMR will open new opportunities, generate job and open up business establishments.

 The project beneficiaries of the Hacienda-Rawis Farm to Market Road were in festive mood during the ground breaking ceremony.

The existing one lane road (2.5 meters) of Barangay Hacienda leading to other Barangays in San Miguel Island.

Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro (fifth from left), OIC-Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tonilla (3rd from left), RPCO 5 Deputy Project Director Adelina A. Losa (in Pink blouse) and South Luzon PSO Deputy Project Director Shandy M. Hubilla (in grey polo shirt) together with engineers from the LGU and the Legazpi Premium Development Corporation/3RB Construction Supply  inaugurates the ground breaking of the  Hacienda to Rawis  Farm to Market Road in San Miguel Island, Tabaco City.