Over 12,000 residents living in the 15 mountainous barangays of the municipality of Tubungan in Iloilo province have benefited from projects funded under the 2021 barangay development program (BDP).
Tubungan Mayor Roquito Tacsagon, in an interview on Wednesday, said a PHP20-million fund was allotted to each of the barangays that have been declared free from the influence of the communist rebels.
Of that amount, PHP300 million was spent on road networks, water systems, electrification, school buildings, health stations, and livelihood projects, particularly on swine raising.
“Every family has a livelihood project,” he said in a follow-up interview on Wednesday.
The recipient barangays included Igtuble, Igpaho, Badiang, Jona, Buenavista, Ambarihon, Batga, Ago, Pinamacalan, Deposorio, Bato, Igdampog Sur, Igdampog Norte, Ayubo and Nagba.
Tacsagon added that they remain hopeful the other target projects, particularly on infrastructure, worth over PHP100 million, will still be implemented.
“Of the 59 infrastructure subprojects, only 15 were finished, which is only around 30 percent,” he said, adding that contractors either refused to join or backed out from the bidding after learning about the location of the projects and fearing their equipment would get burned by communist rebels, leading to a failure in bidding.
The mayor met with Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Marlo Iringan on May 18 and raised the concern about unimplemented projects.
He said that while the implementation of the project is supposed to be within one year, he suggested that there has to be a contingency plan, especially since it entails a huge budget.
This year, four additional cleared barangays including Morcillas, Navillan, Lang Norte and San Vicente have qualified for the BDP with a corresponding allocation of PHP6.5 million each.
The fund, he said, will go to road and water system projects.
“Due to limited manpower, we are planning to hire a job-hire or contract of service civil engineers so we can plan out properly and implement projects immediately,” he added.
Three more barangays namely, Bikil, Boloc and Molina are expected to receive projects in the 2024 budget.
“Through this program, we will try to lessen the insurgency problem. We are hoping that this project could augment our budget so we can find a way to improve the lives of our people,” he said, adding that since Tubungan is a fourth-class town, it is mostly dependent on the fund coming from the national government.
The BDP is a flagship program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to bring development to areas that are no longer under the influence of communist rebels. (PNA)