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Road to Reconciliation: NTF-ELCAC funded roads in Tapaz, Capiz

In the backdrop of conflict and uncertainty, a glimmer of hope emerges as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) through the Local Government Support Fund- Support to Barangay Development Program (LGSF-SBDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) leading to the road of reconciliation.

The program has funded a total of P24,000,000.00 concrete farm-to-market roads (FMRs) in the six far-flung barangays of Tapaz town in Capiz. 

Each barangay in Tapaz namely Acuña, Lahug, Katipunan, Roosevelt, San Miguel Ilawod, and Aglinab received P4,000,000.00 for the construction of their FMR. 

The DILG-Capiz and Municipal Engineering personnel holding an onsite visit and joint inspection of the ongoing farm-to-market road in Brgy. Lahug, Tapaz, Capiz. (Photo courtesy of Tapaz Information Office)

The LGSF-SBDP is the government’s priority program to usher development and deliver basic services to conflict-affected barangays that was lagging behind due to the terror caused by the CPP-NPA Terrorists.

The ongoing commitment of the government to construct roads provides the citizens with critical access to essentials such as food, water, medical supplies, and humanitarian relief. 

The road situation in Brgy. Aglinab, Tapaz, Capiz before the concreting project. (Photo courtesy of Paul Andrie Dela Cruz)

In rebel-infested places, these essentials may be difficult to obtain, making highways very important for the locals.

San Miguel Ilaya Punong Barangay Merly Becodo said that the FMR is a big help in delivering and transporting their products to the town proper.

“Hanggod gid nga bulig para sa amun barangay kay ang amun mga produkto madali na itransport pa banwa kag ang mga bata nami na ang agyan mg pa eskwelahan. (This is a big help for our barangay since it will be easier to bring our products to town.  The children will have a better road going to school),” added Becodo.

Further, the 18-year-old Paul Andrie Dela Cruz, a native of Brgy. Aglinab, 

now enrolled in high school in Brgy. Katipunan, claimed that the FMR is a big help for students like him to travel in times of emergency or critical situations because they will no longer have to pass through the rough roads.

Dela Cruz said the road will help everyone, will help everyone, pointing out how traveling to the nearby barangays or other locations used to be a major discomfort for them, noting to experience walking half an hour everyday just to go to school. 

He added that the road to his school is extra dangerous during rainy seasons because he and his friends need to walk on a slippery path.

“Dapat mangin thankful kita kay gahulag ang sa ibabaw (gobyerno nasyonal) kag ginahatagan atensyon ang mga problema (We should be thankful to the national government because they are moving and paying attention to our problem),” noted Dela Cruz.

Tapaz town in Capiz is also home to the Indigenous People (IP) and out of the six barangays awarded with FMRs, Aglinab, Lahug, and Katipunan are considered as IP barangays. 

Capiz Government Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Rafe Laluma stated that his ancestors have been pushing for road concreting in the upland barangays since the 1980s. 

“Isa sa mga ginapangayo namon ang dalan kay bal-an ta man nga ang IP areas may malapad nga lupa, ang problema lang kay ang amon mga tanom 

Paul Andrie Dela Cruz, one of the project beneficiaries of the Tapaz FMR. (Photo courtesy of Paul Andrie Dela Cruz)

kag produkto mabudlay ang pagdala sa banwa kag indi mabaligya, (One of our requests is the concreting of roads because we all know that IP areas have a vast land, however, it is difficult for us to transport and sell our products in the town proper),” said Laluma.

He also pointed out the importance of roads, especially during emergency situations.

“Nakita namon nga ang kalsada amo gid na ang dako nga benepisyo para sa mga katawhan ilabi na gid kung ang mga kababaihan naton magbata, halos nagakapatay (We saw the benefits of road construction especially for the pregnant women who mostly died due to childbirth),” Laluma stressed.

Capiz Government Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Rafe Laluma. (Photo courtesy of Romy Orofio)

“Gapasalamat gid ang mga IPs ilabi na sa administrasyon naton subong nga mahatag na ang ila dugay nga ginapangayo nga pagsemento sang dalan. (The IP community is mostly grateful to the current administration that the long-time request of concreting the roads is now given to them),” he added. 

Meanwhile, Tapaz Mayor Roberto Palomar said there is still a lot of work to be done to concretize all the road networks going to the upland barangays, but he assured that through the help of the national government, they can accomplish more.

“Kailangan lahat ng mga upland barangays may magandang access. Mapapalapit ang gobyerno at serbisyo 

pag may magandang access (All upland barangays need to have good access for them to be closer to the government services),” Palomar added. 

Palomar always reiterates that “where the road begins, insurgency ends.”

In addition, DILG Engineer II Lou Amiel Alasagon said concreting of three out of six barangay roads are already 100% complete while the works for the other three barangay roads are still ongoing. 

Alasagon added that there are another 23 barangays in Tapaz town that will also benefit from the LGSF-SBDP NTF-ELCAC project. 

While the establishment of concrete roads cannot guarantee the end of the insurgency, it is an important component in supporting social and economic development in remote places.

The government's strategy of building roads in rebel-infested areas is a beacon of hope and evidence of the power of infrastructure in improving the lives of the residents and establishing the framework for long-term peace and stability. (AGP/PLF/ PIA Capiz)

About the Author

April Grace Padilla

Information Officer II

Region 6

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