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Over 12,000 families benefit from peace programs in Iloilo town.

Projects supported by the 2021 barangay development program (BDP) have benefited more than 12,000 persons who dwell in the 15 mountainous barangays of the municipality of Tubungan in the province of Iloilo.

In an interview on Wednesday, Tubungan Mayor Roquito Tacsagon stated that each barangay deemed free of the communist insurgents’ influence had received a PHP20 million payment.

Of that sum, PHP300 million was used for initiatives to improve people’s quality of life, including swine farming, water systems, electricity, school construction, and health facilities.

In a follow-up interview on Wednesday, he said that “every family has a livelihood project.”

Igtuble, Igpaho, Badiang, Jona, Buenavista, Ambarihon, Batga, Ago, Pinamacalan, Deposorio, Bato, Igdampog Sur, Igdampog Norte, Ayubo, and Nagba were among the beneficiary barangays.

Tacsagon continued by expressing optimism for implementing additional target projects, notably those involving infrastructure and costing more than PHP100 million.

“Only 15 of the 59 infrastructure subprojects were finished, which is only about 30%,” he said, adding that contractors either refused to participate in the bidding or withdrew because they were concerned their equipment would be set ablaze by communist rebels after learning the projects’ locations.

On May 18, the mayor spoke with Marlo Iringan, the undersecretary for local and state government, and expressed her concern over unfinished projects.

Although the project is expected to be implemented within a year, he noted that a backup plan must be developed, especially because it involves a substantial expense.

Including Morcillas, Navillan, Lang Norte, and San Vicente, four more cleared barangays this year have qualified for the BDP with a corresponding allocation of PHP6.5 million each.

He said the money would be used to build new roads and water systems.

“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 continued.

Projects for the barangays of Bikil, Boloc, and Molina are anticipated in the 2024 budget.

“We will strive to minimize the insurgency issue with this program. To find a means to enhance the lives of our people, we are hopeful that this project would help our budget,” he added, adding that because Tubungan is a fourth-class town, it depends largely on funds provided by the national government.

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s main initiative, the BDP, is designed to promote development in regions no longer controlled by communist insurgents.

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