New bridge brings hope to Manobo farmers
Manobo farmers in this sleepy town welcomed the opening of a new P500-million delta bridge that would make it easier for them to bring their product to market, a dream that the farmers had been waiting for decades to be realized.
“We can now easily transport our produce to the market in Talacogon town where we can now command higher prices,” said Antonio “Datu Malinaw” Cullantes, a tribal leader tending a rice land in old San Luis village.
The 163-meter span bridge constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will connect a shorter road network between the towns of San Luis and Talacogon, making hundreds of hectares of rice and corn farms in the area more accessible.
To realize the project, the DPWH has earmarked P450 million in funds, while the municipal government secured a P45-million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines. The provincial government contributed P5.
The new bridge shortens travel time from Poblacion Talacogon to Doña Maxima from about an hour on rough road to just 15 minutes.
“We, including provincial officials and our Congress representatives, have done everything to realize this project, so there’s no reason that our town will not progress,” said Mayor Ronaldo Corvera.
Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza urged residents to seize the opportunity to improve their lives.
“The challenge now lies on you people of this town, if you will do your part and help yourselves,” he said during the inauguration of the bridge last month.
Cullantes admitted that farmers had difficulty bringing their palay to Talacogon in the absence of the bridge as the produce usually got soaked in water when farmers crossed the river to deliver their harvests.
Local officials are now bent on allocating funds and lobbying for additional budget for the elevated all-weather road projects that will connect the two towns and fully develop the neighboring areas along the Agusan river.