Feature: Good road lessens transport cost of farm produce, says village chief
by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob
Iligan City (17 June) -- "Naayo na ang among dalan. Dili na kami mahadlok mahulog sa kabayo nga kargahan sa produkto sa among uma paingon sa merkado sa lungsod."(Our road had been improved. We are no longer afraid to fall from our horses when we bring our farm produce to the town market).
Thus expressed 50-year old Tago Batalo, a Maranao, on the road improvement project of their 4-kilometer stretch of road from the poblacion (town proper) to his area in Demarao, Bacolod, Lanao del Norte.
Elected Punong Barangay (Village Chief) in the area, Batalo said the completion of the project will also mean lower transportation cost for their farm produce when loaded in the motorela that ply the Demarao-Poblacion and vice-versa routes.
Once a volunteer of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's pet project in the fight against poverty which is the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), Batalo said his voluntary work brought about his popularity among his village folks.
"In fact, my volunteer work with KALAHI-CIDSS has given me the comparative advantage over the other candidates and made me won in the electoral race 'hands down' without any expenditure on my part," he said.
Likewise, it showed that the Maranaos and the Christians, alike, can live together in peace and harmony, as proven in my having been elected as their Village Chief, he added.
Batalo's testimony came during the conduct of the "Mga Kwento ng Ani: Sharing Stories in Community Driven Development: The KALAHI-CIDSS Makamasang Tugon" Knowledge Café / Press Conference where he was made to talk on the subject of "Development is Good Politics" held in Bacolod, recently.
The activity was conducted to generate insights on the challenges of local officials of poor areas that faced the challenges of old politics, prompting people-centered development and creating a new political environment conducive to greater participation, transparency and accountability.
Identification of the project in his area was determined from a list drawn by the residents themselves during an assembly. "It was them who decided which one was the most needed," Batalo qualified.
With a total project cost of Php633,686.53, of which Php514,938.14 was provided by the KALAHI-CIDSS grant and Php118,748.39 from the local counterpart contribution (LCC) of cash-in-kind, the project was started on March 23, 2009, and will be completed on June 21, also this year. (PIA 10) [top]