The local government of Maasin in Iloilo province was prompt in addressing the clamor of the residents in Trangka village for improved roads which will result in better access to other government services.
In an interview on Friday, Maasin Mayor Francis Amboy said around 1, 000 villagers have to endure the 13-kilometer travel to the town proper to purchase their needs and avail of government services.
Amboy led municipal officials and national government agencies in a “Serbisyo Caravan” in the village to bring the government closer to the people.
The need for improved road was the top concern that emerged during the caravan.
“They want change because, for 20 years, their situation was hard there because of the road,” Amboy said, adding that residents have to allot PHP200 for motorcycle fare to travel to and from the town proper.
The lack of accessible roads is also used by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to recruit members from Trangka.
Trangka village is identified as by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as a “red area” for ending local communist armed conflict.
Amboy said there were encounters recorded in Trangka before and until now, the CPP-NPA still has “sympathizers” in the village.
“It’s easy for people to be indoctrinated because they assume that the government is non-existent. If the rainy season starts, their feet bury in muds so it seems like no progress is happening,” Amboy said.
To address this, the local government will momentarily be covering the road with sand and gravel.
By April this year, Amboy said the road will be paved with cement using the funds of the local government unit.
The Department of Public Works and Highways, which has also sent its representative in the caravan, has also committed to contributing to the road concreting.
Amboy said the provincial government of Iloilo also helps in addressing the accessibility concerns through providing its construction equipment and vehicles.
The road concreting will allow more opportunities and services to enter Trangka, particularly better health services from the government that can be brought closer to the village.
Moraliza Capilitan, 38, one of the five barangay health workers in Trangka, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the unimproved road is a challenge for the locals to see a doctor.
Pregnant women are advised by the health workers to stay in the town proper weeks before their due date as they can hardly be transported to the clinic when during an emergency.
“That is also the reason why some of the women here opt to deliver a child in their homes because we cannot easily travel to the rural health unit,” Capilitan said.
Capilitan was also grateful as the “Serbisyo Caravan” also brought doctors and health professionals to check on the health status of the residents.
Virginia Balandro, 54, was checked by doctors for her long-endured body pain and numbness of hands.
“I will be given medicines so that my body ache will not hamper with my everyday tasks. It is our first time to be visited by this caravan and I am grateful that they brought doctors here,” she said in the vernacular.
With municipal officials also extending their services, some residents also availed of government-issued documents from the local civil registry during the caravan.
Leo Altimo, 40, said he wanted to process his birth certificate in the municipal hall but he has no money to pay for the transport.
"I need my birth certificate because it is what I need to avail other services in the government,” said Altimo, who got hold of the document during the caravan.
Seeing the benefits brought by the caravan, Amboy, assured the local government will continue to bring basic services to villages other than Trangka.
Source: Philippines News Agency