The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has kicked off the concreting of the PHP350-million road project connecting the towns of Dolores and Maslog in Eastern Samar province, traversing communities formerly infested by rebels.
The 5.84-kilometer road opening project funded under the 2022 budget will be completed within the year, according to DPWH Eastern Samar assistant district engineer Domcelio Natividad in an interview Tuesday.
The first of these two projects that will be implemented by the DPWH regional office is the concreting of the Dolores-Maslog Road that started construction on Dec. 21, 2022 and scheduled to be completed on Oct. 16, 2023.
The other project is the opening and construction of a road linking the villages of Magsaysay, Magongbong and Gap-ang in Dolores town. The road section will form part of the highway that links the two towns.
The second project officially started last Jan. 4 and will be completed on Dec. 29 this year.
“Once these projects are completed, it will ease the burden of residents living in these areas. It will be easy for the government to bring basic services to these communities and for farmers to bring their products to the market,” Natividad said.
During the project inauguration on Feb. 4, DPWH Eastern Visayas regional director Edgar Tabacon thanked House Minority Leader and 4Ps Party-list Representative Marcelino Libanan for lobbying the release of funding requirement for the project.
“We are inspired at DPWH that you have this immense support to these projects and we will really do our best. This is a challenge for the DPWH on how to complete the project within the target date,” Tabacon said.
Libanan, a native of Eastern Samar, said he will make sure that the town of Maslog will be accessible from the national road through a paved road.
“This has been my dream when I was the congressman of Eastern Samar. We are happy that this is happening with the support of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,” Libanan said during the event.
Currently, Maslog town is accessible from a highway in Dolores town through a four-hour river boat ride. Some portion of the road has been opened in the past 10 years but is still not concreted with some sections still up for opening.
Eastern Visayas program manager Imelda Bonifacio, of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, has welcomed the concreting work as this will help address insurgency in the area.
“Leaders of the New People’s Army used to meet in remote communities between Dolores and Maslog town. In 2021, at least 21 rebels died in Dolores in an encounter with government forces,” Bonifacio said.
The armed confrontation on Aug. 16, 2021 is considered one of the most successful operations of government forces against the communist terrorist group.
Around 50 rebels were hiding in a big encampment in Osmeña village in Dolores town when the Armed Forces of the Philippines launched an attack. (PNA)