New road brings hope to remote barangay
MALAPATAN, Sarangani (27 October) -- Barangay Kinam can only be reached by horses and heavy vehicles.
To reach the area from the national highway, it takes almost two hours, 14 river crossings and numerous climbs for a vintage weapons carrier.
The dirt road partly becomes a waterway during rainy days.
Governor Migs Dominguez and Major General Ernesto Boac, commander of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, flew in by chopper Wednesday for the groundbreaking ceremony of the P9.6-million Kinam-Sapu Masla farm-to-market road.
When completed, travel time would reduce to 20 minutes with a new 17-km. route.
The new road project, 20% of which is co-funded by the provincial and municipal government units, is a grant under the Support to Emergency and Livelihood Assistance Program of the Department of Agriculture.
"This is the first time that elected officials visited us more than once. We can really see that they are sincere in their development efforts," said barangay captain Toting Maguan.
Maguan said the groundbreaking ceremony was an anticipated event in barangay Kinam.
96% of the 5,000 population is composed of indigenous people who belong to the B'laan tribe.
"I won't lose hope with the people of Kinam. Until there is hope in their eyes, I will continue to bring in development in this barangay," said Gov. Dominguez.
The governor initiated social and medical services to Kinam last year, setting off regular visits for free check-up and free medicines, free tooth extraction, circumcision, malaria test and blood typing.
"We can do a lot of things if we are always united. Let us convince our friends that the era of armed rebellion is over. We have a new rebellion and that is against poverty," the governor told residents.
Until late last year, Kinam was a former rebel-stronghold. However, peace and development efforts have led to the surrender of more than a hundred New People's Army militia.
With its vast fertile lands, the barangay has slowly transformed itself into a potential agri-investment area.
MGen. Boac said he was "very impressed with the people of Kinam. I have seen the unity of the people in supporting government projects."
Vice Governor Bridget Chiongbian-Huang also distributed PhilHealth cards to the indigent population of the barangay.
"We are really serious in bringing in development here in Kinam," she said.
A three-classroom building donated by KALAHI-CIDSS is under construction. The KALAHI-CIDSS (Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services) is President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's flagship socio-economic program and funded by the World Bank.
Meanwhile, Malapatan Mayor Alfonso Singcoy bared that a campaign against loose firearms in the barangay has started with the "Balik Baril Program."
"This will be a big help in our peace efforts," said Mayor Singcoy.
The "Balik Baril Program" has a corresponding amount for every gun turned-over to the government. The owner of the firearms also has the option to register their weapons to the proper government agencies. (Sarangani IO/PIA 12) [top]