NVizcaya villagers set aside P5 for bridges
by Ben Moses Ebreo
Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya (6 February) -- Ilocanos are known for their thriftiness but not if it is an investment for their lives.
Local residents in sitio Dumaliguia here is giving their monthly individual contribution of P5.00 to their treasurer in line with their project dubbed "Rangtay Pagbiagan" (bridge of life).
At present, at least more than P2,000.00 have been raised from the contribution which is allocated solely for the repair of their hanging bridges.
Mostly Ilocano migrants, the villagers composed of 114 families launched the project in September last year to enable them to repair at least two hanging bridges constructed within at least 1 month jointly by the residents, mining firm FCF Mining Corporation(FMC) which is conducting exploration works in barangay Runruno for gold and molybdenum deposits in the area and the local government unit.
The 114 families scattered in remote villages depend on agriculture as main source of income.
FMC gave the needed materials, the LGU provided technical and gravel requirements while the residents shouldered the labor component.
The cable hanging bridges are 100 meters in length each with wood as running board and a concrete foundation.
"These bridges are important to us because they are our link to market our products and for the education of our children," said Brenda Garcia, 36, member of the Dumaliguia Women's Organization(DWO) and "Rangtay Pagbiagan" Organization(RPO) which is enforcing the monthly contribution. Another organization that benefits from the project is the Dumaliguia Rattan Makers Association(DRMA) whose members use the bridges in gathering rattan stocks.
The concept of encouraging the villagers in raising a monthly P5.00 contribution came from the villagers themselves after they were struck with strong typhoon in recent years, resulting to the swelling of the rivers and destroying their hanging bridges, thereby leaving them into complete isolation.
During those times, their products, such as citrus oranges, bananas and rice were not sold on time and were destroyed. Their children were not able to attend their classes for weeks, forcing them to drop out from school.
"That is why the rate of drop outs here is high because of the unrepaired hanging bridges. It was very difficult for us to reach out and call for help and help only came after waiting for so long," Garcia added.
Garcia said the bridge is also used in bringing their sick villagers to the health centers.
She said they are doing the project to manage and maintain the hanging bridges in their community.
This practice, she said will strengthen them to become independent in repairing their bridges without waiting for days.
Local government officials here praised the diligence and commitment of the villagers because of their united efforts to become self reliant in times of disasters and calamities.
"Far from our bureaucratic system, this is what we need specially in remote villages so that timely response will prevent the loss of lives, limbs and properties," said a local official who refused to be identified.
Other hanging bridges have been constructed in sitios Binuangan, Dipilipig and Kinalabasa to link the 758 households within the community, all of barangay Runruno.
Melanie Valenciano, FMC community relations officer said the company is committed to construct 11 hanging bridges in barangay Runruno where four of these commitments have already been realized.
Their assistance to the project, she added is anchored on the company's objective of helping people help themselves. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]