CARAMORAN, CATANDUANES – It’s been 10 years since Josefina Borra, 76, a resident of Brgy. Maui in Caramoran, Catanduanes, opened a sari-sari store. The small business, located in her residential lot, was built from the combined financial resources of her five children who work in Manila. But when she learned that the Provincial Government of Catanduanes will be needing the area for the expansion of their barangay road, Borra did not hesitate to sell a portion of her residential lot. Even though it requires the demolition of her decade-old store.

“Gusto ko din umasenso ang bayan namin kaya ngayong kailangan ng gobyerno ang lupa, ibibigay namin,” she said.

Borra was among the 29 Project Affected Persons (PAPs) who received their compensation for the road right of way of the Concreting of Junction Sabangan to Datag East Farm-to-Market Road (FMR). She received a total compensation amounting to P27,123.34.  

The Awarding of Checks to the PAPs was one of the highlights of the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the 7.37-kilometer FMR funded under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) held on March 14, 2019 in Brgy. Sabangan, this municipality. 

According to Jo Marie Libarnes, PRDP Project Support Office South Luzon I-PLAN Unit Head, the FMR was one of the interventions identified in the Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) to address poor access to production areas. Based from the Expanded Vulnerability and Suitability Analysis (E-VSA), Caramoran ranked first in terms of poverty incidence, production and number of abaca farmers. The Concreting of Junction Sabangan to Datag East FMR will improve the accessibility to the municipality, which is one of the major abaca production areas in the province.

She added that the infrastructure development (I-BUILD) subproject will reduce travel time by 50 percent or an average of 30 minutes, reduce hauling cost by P25 per sack, increase daily traffic by at least 50 percent or 10 vehicles, and reduce transport losses by 5 percent.

The P126.99 million-worth Concreting of Junction Sabangan to Datag East FMR will benefit a total of 811 households, 503 of which are farmers and fisherfolk. It is the only I-BUILD subproject which qualified to the prioritization scheme on infrastructure subprojects for funding under the 170 million dollar-worth PRDP additional financing, which took effect on May 23, 2018. The Groundbreaking Ceremony started with a Thanksgiving Mass at Sabangan Chapel. Catanduanes Acting Governor Shirley Abundo, Governor Joseph Cua, Acting Vice Governor Rafael Zuniega, Caramoran Mayor Agnes Popa, and PRDP-Bicol Roads and Bridges Specialist Engr. Teodoro Eleda graced the activity. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)