Pascuala Pantinople, 74 years old, a resident of Barangay Alambijud, waved her red flaglet by the roadside of the Mompeller–Balaas road in Argao town, craning her head as the governor’s arrival was announced.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia was in town last January 26 to lead the opening and groundbreaking of various road projects in the mountain barangays worth a total of P268 million.
“Magpasalamat unta ko niya. Kay na-senior citizen na lang ko, karon pa ko kasuway ani nga kahamugaway nga dalan,” Pantinople said.
She recalled years back that there were only three motorcycles-for-hire operating in the pothole-laden road stretch.
When the road becomes a source of agony on rainy days, she would rather walk along the narrow and steep dirt roads to take a short cut to the nearest trading center where she could sell basketfuls of farm produce.
“Pwerte gyung lisura sa kahimtang kay ma-slide man ang motor sa kabati sa karsada labi nag ting-uwan. Mao tong amo na lang lukduon among mga utanon padung sa merkado agi diri sa bakilid manglaktod. Unya ig uli magpas-an sad mi sa among kinumprang bugas,” she narrated.
Her neighbor, 51-year-old Maria Sarpe, shared she is glad of the improved road, now at 6.1 meters wide and around ten inches thick, because it would cut half the time to Barangay Balaas, 10 kilometers from her home.
Sarpe also said that the road is a tremendous help to farmers since buyers now come to Alambijud. Trucks can now pass by with ease, unlike before when vehicles have to stop to give way for an approaching vehicle, especially at sharp bends.
“Ang mga truck makasulod na dinhi. Labi na pagkarga sa mga baboy, dali na lang kaayo. Unya daghan na sad naninda dinhi kay dali na man mag-deliver. Lipay kaayo mi kay sa duol naa nay kapalitan og bugas,” she added.
Garcia led the inauguration of 3.2-kilometer Mompeller-Balaas road worth P61.5 million; 991-meter Usmad-Cansuje road worth P11.9 million; 4-kilometer Poblacion-Cagbanua-Jomgao-Panadtaran road worth P49.7 million; and the 3.3-kilometer Candabong-Lapay road worth P39.9 million.
The governor clarified, though, that the Mompeller-Balaas Road is sourced from the trust fund of the Conditional Matching Grant to Provinces (CMGP) in 2019.
CMGP for road repair, rehabilitation and improvement is a partnership program between the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for provincial local government units.
In 2016, the program was called Konkreto at Ayos na Lansangan ang Daan tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran (Kalsada).
Garcia also led the groundbreaking of the 1.92-km Bae-Mompeller road section worth P26.5 million; 3-km Mompeller (vegetable highway) road section worth P41.4 million; and 2.4-km Talaga-Lapay road section.
For the governor, this is the only way Cebuanos can feel they are in the “richest province” in the country. A bigger road network and better roads also help in improving their lives and livelihoods.
“Wala ko’y angay ikapanghambog kay makasulti lang ta nga dato diay ang Probinsya kon napaabot na nato sa katawhan ang nindot nga kadalanan ug patubig, kanang moarang-arang na ang ilang kahimtang ug panginabuhi,” Garcia stressed.
Second District Rep. Wilfredo “Willy” Caminero said that the completion of these road improvement projects paves way for a better travel experience among the new generation.
“Ang mga batan-on karon dili na gyud makatagamtam sa kalisod nga atong naagian. Dili na sila makatagamtam sa kalisod sa atong pagbaklay,” Caminero expressed.
Also present in the event were 2nd District Provincial Board Members Edsel Galeos and Jose Mari “Tata” Salvador, Argao Mayor Allan Sesaldo, Alcoy Mayor Michael Sestoso, Dalaguete Mayor Jeffrey Belcina, Boljoon Mayor Merlou Derama, Santander Mayor Marites “Monic” Buscato, and Oslob Mayor Jose “Joe” Tumulak Jr. as well as public school teachers, barangay workers and officials. (Eleanor Valeros)