Zamboanga Del Sur ELCAC road project to deliver services to far-flung areas

The construction and rehabilitation of three farm-to-market road projects in Lakewood town, Zamboanga Del Sur came into realization after the groundbreaking ceremony held on July 2, 2020, in Barangay Dagum.

ROAD PROJECTS IN ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR FAR-FLUNG AREAS. Brig.Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, Philippine Army 1st Infatnry “TABAK” Division Assistant Division Commander, Col. Leonel Nicolas, Brigade Commander, 102nd Infantry Brigade, Lt.Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Battalion Commander, 53rd Infantry Battalion, and Gov. Victor Yu Zamboanga del Sur led the groundbreaking ceremony on July 2, 2020, for the construction and rehabilitation of three farm-to-market road projects in Barangay Dagum, Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur. (Photo: 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion)

The road projects include the rehabilitation of 6-kilometer Poblacion-Baking-Dagum Road; construction of 5-kilometer Dagum-Matalang Road; and the construction of 4-kilometer Dagum-Tiwales Road.

In partnership with the Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “MATAPAT” Battalion (53IB), the said road constructions are priority projects of the Zamboanga Del Sur Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) headed by Gov. Victor J. Yu.

Gov. Yu said those road constructions are prerequisites to eradicating insurgency in the area.

“I have always said, we first build roads then everything else will follow,” Yu said.

“Having roads will also translate to the delivery of basic and government services to far-flung areas,” Yu said added.

In collaboration with the local government of Lakewood and Lakewood Municipal TF-ELCAC headed by Mayor. Domingo Mirrar, the road projects are also supported by Zamboanga Del Sur 1st District Rep. Divina Grace Yu.

Mayor Mirrar thanked the Provincial Government and the Army for helping in the realization of said road constructions. “This year 2020, forty-three years after Lakewood was founded in 1977, is the first time our constituents here in Barangay Dagum will be able to see four-wheeled vehicles,” Mirrar said with enthusiasm.

“This means that the people [of Brgy Dagum] will now regularly see the transport of their harvest to the market, the entry of basic and government services, and hopefully, the end of insurgency,” Mirrar said.

For 43 years, four-wheeled vehicles cannot enter Brgy Dagum because of the unpaved roads, and became a safe haven of New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists due to lack of access to basic and government services.

Philippine Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Leonel Nicolas, who has operational jurisdiction over the Province of Zamboanga del Sur, lauded the efforts of the Provincial and Municipal Task Forces ELCAC and 53IB for putting their commitment into action to end the insurgency in Lakewood town.

“The good governance practiced by our local government will not only put insurgency into an end, but will also sustain our future efforts of delivering services to the people,” Col. Nicolas said.

Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division’s Assistant Division Commander Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr. said the construction of these roads hopes to open the eyes of NPA terrorists still in the hinterlands.

“We hold this groundbreaking ceremony and construct these roads with the hope that more NPA terrorists will abandon the armed struggle and return to the folds of the law,” said Brig. Gen. Gaerlan.

“The NPAs are also our brothers and sisters who were deceived with the wrong ideology,” Gaerlan said.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, 53IB Commander who has ground control over Lakewood town, said these roads will form part of conflict resolution as the people will now receive the services they are so longing for.

“What we are building now are the roads that lead to progress, roads that will deliver basic and government services to the people such as health, education, and job opportunities,” Herrera said.

The ceremony was also attended by Zamboanga Del Sur Philippine National Police Provincial Director Police Col. Rhode Espero, Lakewood town Vice-Mayor Ronaldo Looc, Tiwales Barangay Captain Jonh Montesan, Baking Brgy Captain Rolando Langgas, Bulalawan Barangay Captain Rudy Tillo, Poblacion Barangay Captain Ivangelen Looc, and Dagum Barangay Captain Felino Galgan.

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