PAMPLONA, CAMARINES SUR – Elizabeth Roero, 45, a resident of Zone 1 Brgy. Batang, in this municipality, has experienced firsthand the hardship of living in a community that is isolated from the main line of transportation.
In 2015, due to the inaccessibility of the barangay’s earth road, her mother died of heart attack in a hammock, in an effort to bring her to the nearest hospital. A widow for seven years, she works as vegetable vendor in Naga City People’s Mall to support her eight children. She travels from Pamplona at 4 p.m. and starts selling at 5 p.m. until 7 a.m. to earn at least P400 per day. Among her products are okra, sitaw and buko from her siblings’ farm produce in Zone 7 of the same barangay.
Roero was among the crowd who attended the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Road Opening and Concreting of Batang-San Gabriel Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) in Pamplona, Camarines Sur on March 9, 2019.
The 6.16-kilometer FMR is designed to reduce hauling cost of all inflows and outflows of agricultural commodities by P20 per sack or P8.00 per box. Currently, Roero spends P50 per sack to haul her products from Zone 7 to Zone 1 in Brgy. Batang.
“Marhay po na magkakaugwa na kami ning sementadong kalsada para dae na mapahilada ta puwede na ang jeep (It is a good that finally, we shall have a concrete road. We can now haul our products via jeepney),” Roero said.
The FMR also intends to open opportunities for basic services such as health, education and communication. In addition, the FMR is projected to increase potential land for agricultural production by 12.42 percent or 112.5 hectares in five years. Moreover, it aims to reduce travel time on an average of 25 minutes and vehicle operating cost by more or less P1.97 million annually.
The P70.27 million-worth Road Opening and Concreting of Batang-San Gabriel is the fourth infrastructure development (I-BUILD) subproject of the Province of Camarines Sur funded under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP). The said subproject will benefit 2,710 individuals or 542 households, majority of which are engaged in agricultural crop production. Present during the Groundbreaking Ceremony were PRDP Project Support Office South Luzon Deputy Project Director Shandy Hubilla, PRDP-Bicol Deputy Project Director Adelina Losa, PRDP-Bicol I-BUILD Component Head Engr. Nilda Albaño and officials of the Provincial Local Government Unit of Camarines Sur. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)