SILVINO LOBOS, Northern Samar, May 26 (PNA) – The mayor of this town strongly suggested for the implementation of more development initiatives to curb insurgency.
Mayor Edmund Gillamac said that insurgency will not be resolved by military operation alone, hence he asked the national government to push for development programs to solve security concerns.
Silvino Lobos, some 25 kilometers away from the provincial capital of Catarman have been affected by insurgency, resulting to the slow pace of local development, according to the mayor.
The town is located in the interior part of the province, near boundary of Eastern Samar and Samar provinces hounded by accessibility issues and threats of communist rebels.
Before the road was constructed from nearby Mondragon town, Silvino Lobos is only accessible by pump boat that took six to 10 hours trip. After the road project, it will only take less than an hour to get to the national highway.
The town is divided into 26 villages whose population heavily relies on rice, coconut and abaca farming.
“We should reverse our plan in addressing problem on insurgency. It should be development first before we go to security concerns,” said Gillamac, a retired army official.
Gillamac then lauded the government for implementing projects beyond political-party affiliation; which only shows that the present administration really is looking and concern to the welfare of all Filipinos.
The town mayor recalled that during previous administration, he asked for funding for the concreting of the road, but it did not materialized until the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) project of the Aquino government came in.
The official is optimistic that the new road will provide more access to health services.
He also recalled that a mother lost her new born child on her way to the hospital, some eight kilometers away from the town center, which has a very poor road network.
Of the 18 kilometer road stretch to the town proper, 10 kilometers part of Mondragon-Silvino Lobos road had already been paved through the PAMANA project of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, a project implemented in conflict-affected areas like the Samar provinces.
The newly completed road project under the second phase of road network project costs PHP195 million that include a road construction and concreting project with three bridges in Mondragon leading to Silvino Lobos town.
OPAPP Undersecretary Maria Gettie Cleofe Sandoval promised to look for funding for the remaining eight kilometers road with two bridges
“Your presence is essential in the implementation of government project to ensure that they are properly implemented according to specification and reported immediately if there are problems,” said Sandoval.
She cited as example an active third-party monitoring of Lorenzo Anterio, 80, who has been tirelessly providing them update on the Mondragon-Silvino Lobos road.
Before, Anterio never believed that the government implements development projects.
“It seems that the government have programs and money, but no visible projets. That makes life in rural communities harder,” Anterio shared.
But when PAMANA came in, it changes his view and realized that there is indeed a government that helps people.
“I am old and this is my first time to see this kind of project in our community. I always wanted to walk on a concrete road,” he added.
PAMANA pillar 3 project implementation in Northern Samar covers the towns of Silvino Lobos, Lope de Vega, Las Navas and San Roque.
PAMANA Samar area manager Emy Bonifacio said the government has allocated PHP424.5 million to Northern Samar for infrastructure projects that covers the 2011 Pamana-OPAPP funded projects and PHP199 million projects funded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
OPAPP partners under pillar 3 implementation aside from DILG are Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Public Works and Highways and Department of Energy. (PNA)