AFP opens road to NPA-infested area
Tuguegarao City (26 January) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines, together with the Local Government Unit of Cagayan, has implemented the opening of road network from the national Highway to Zinundungan Valley, a boundary of Rizal, Cagayan and Cordillera.
The valley was formerly labeled as one among hotspots in the province as it was being infested by New Peoples Army and considered as one of their hide outs.
Last year, the area was successfully penetrated and cleared by the government armies and converted it into a community that enjoys privileges from the government, said Lt. Col. Laurence Mina, Commanding Officer of 17th Infantry Battalion.
Mina said they assisted the community by giving them livelihood projects, education programs and by opening road accessible to the national highway.
"When the area was still under the control of NPAs, you will walk almost a day before you can reach the valley but now with the road project that our President had given to the community you can now reach the area in just few hours", Mina stated.
Mina said President Arroyo gave P27 million fund for the road project while Governor Alvaro Antonio of Cagayan gave P5 million as their counterpart, with a total of P32 million. The actual implementation of the project is spearheaded by the 54th engineering brigade of the Philippine Army, in collaboration with 501st and 502nd Infantry Division.
According to Mina, the people in the area have benefited from the projects the government had implemented there, most especially the farmers who can now easily transport their produce to the market or to the town center.
As of now, he said that the army troupe is still in the area to continue giving support and assistance to the community, and to ensure development on their life status.
"We do not only give them livelihood programs but we further assist by teaching them the ways to survive through trainings", Mina added. (PIA/Oliver B.) [top]