dar-logoALMERIA, Biliran, Nov. 12 (PNA) – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has turned over more than Php37- million worth of rural development projects in two Biliran towns.

Ismael Aya-ay, DAR assistant regional director for program beneficiaries development, led the turnover of three irrigation projects, a farm-to-market road (FMR) and a potable water system to the local government units of Cabucgayan and Almeria.

The towns’chief executives also turned over the completed projects to the recipient barangays, irrigators’ associations and barangay (village) water services association for the operation and maintenance.

With a combined total cost of P37.6 million, the projects, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) thru the third phase of the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP-3), are expected to hasten economic growth in the agrarian reform communities (ARCs) in these municipalities.

In Cabucgayan, DAR commissioned the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to rehabilitate the irrigation system in Magbangon village, which now supplies water to about 53 hectares of ricefields here and in adjacent Libertad village.

Another project turned over in this municipality was the potable water system implemented in Balaquid village, which according to Mayor Gemma Adobo was of big help in securing the health of the 208 households. Like irrigation, health is also an important factor in rural development, she said.

In Almeria, DAR also commissioned NIA for the construction of an irrigation system in Iyusan village and rehabilitated the one in Jamorawon village that could now supply water to about 102 hectares of rice terraces in these upland villages.

Almeria Mayor Dominador Agajan commented during the turnover that this may now be the realization of their town’s vision of becoming the tourism hub and rice basket of the province.

On the newly-concreted 4.4-kilometer farm-to-market road from Pitoguhan subvillage in Jamorawon to Iyusan village, Agajan said he never expected it would be this beautiful and durable. Road accidents in this area will now be avoided, he added.

DAR tapped the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the concreting of roads, where more than 2,600 residents are expected to benefit.

Meanwhile, DAR regional director Sheila Enciso disclosed that an agricultural warehouse in Balaquid village in Cabucgayan would soon be turned over too to the agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) to complete the package of support services in the area.

The warehouse is also funded by JICA under ARISP-3, she added.

Enciso hopes the projects would help improve the quality of life of the ARBs here and provide the economic development of the region, particularly the agriculture sector. (PNA)