Former log road to get P2.9-B loan for repair
CITY OF ILAGAN—The Isabela provincial board has authorized Governor Faustino Dy III to obtain for the provincial government a P2.9-billion loan to repair an 82-kilometer road connecting three towns but which was once used for logging.
The road passes through the foothills of the northern Sierra Madre mountain range.
Provincial officials said the project would improve a logging road used by the defunct Acme Logging Corp.
The Ilagan-Divilacan Road will start in Barangay Sindon Bayabo in this city and end in Barangay Dicatian in Divilacan town, providing access to the three coastal towns of Palanan, Divilacan and Maconacon.
The project was delayed last year due to concerns over the road’s potential impact on the environment. The road will go through 42 hectares of Northern Sierra Madre Nature Park, which is regarded as one of the country’s most important protected areas.
The Cagayan Valley Regional Development Council (RDC) had required the project’s proponents to study the full impact of the road on the area’s biodiversity.
Perla Visorro, vice chair of the RDC committee on sustainable development, had asked the provincial government for engineering and social provisions that would assure the community that the road would not harm Sierra Madre.
Dy said the RDC had endorsed the road project, which was granted an environmental compliance certificate.
He said the project would boost tourism and economic opportunities in Divilacan and Maconacon, which face the Pacific Ocean.
Ilagan Mayor Josemarie Diaz and Divilacan Mayor Florita Bulan also endorsed the project to the coastal towns and have promised to pour their resources into sustaining forest protection measures.
Earlier, the Protected Area Management Board issued Resolution No. 11, which converted the Sierra Madre section of the new road from its original strict protection coverage to a special use zone.
The Agta, the indigenous people in the area, have signed a memorandum of agreement with the Isabela government allowing the road project to proceed.
“As of now, there is no road that links these areas directly with its neighboring towns and mainland Isabela. Only light planes and boats are the available modes of transportation there, making it difficult to reach the coastal towns in times of calamities,” Dy said.
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