Once a dusky and bumpy eight-hour ride traverses the road before you reach the villages has transformed into a two-hour journey that means easing the burden for most farmers and residents in Solana and Amulung, Cagayan.
Their burden of transporting goods and accessing essential services are things of the past.
The construction of Iraga- Bayabat Farm to Market Road, a 20.25 km road access, eased the transportation woes they have experienced for years.
Velaria S. Maguddayao, Pacac Pequeño, the village chief, recalls that when she leaves for Tuguegarao City, the provinces’ capital, at 6:30 a.m., the travel time will last for eight hours.
“Fare is expensive. It increases as well during rainy season because of the difficulty of transportation due to muddy road,” she said.
Maguddayao, a farmer, also said middlemen dictated the price of their agricultural produce, and they have no way of negotiating because instead, they argue that transportation is costly.
Leonardo Sotero, a farmer from Bayabat, Amulung, compares the logistics before when the road has not been built.
“The situation changed when the FMR is in full operation. Our produce are now easy to travel to markets and we saw it in our own eyes the benefits to the people of Amulung,” he added.
The construction and rehabilitation of the Iraga-Bayabat FMR and bridges started on March 28, 2017. It is now in its whole operation servicing 10,000 hectares of agricultural land and 1,000 hectares of a residential area within its road influence area (RIA).
With the funding support of the World Bank under the counter-parting scheme through the government of the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) and the Provincial Local Government Unit of Cagayan, a PHP 198 M has allotted to complete the said project.
Two years later, the now 100 % complete Iraga-Bayabat FMR and bridges has rated a good standing rating from Fair during its second Operation and Maintenance Audit spearheaded by the Regional Operation and Maintenance Audit Team of the Regional Project Coordination Office 02 on March 4, 2021.
The barangay officials said that the roads indeed served their purpose. At the same time, the residents agree that it helped the community connect easily. The farmers who benefit from the said project are grateful for the gift of road that leads to rural development.
Farmers like Sotero and Maguddayao, who have been farming for years, the project is for the farmers and the locals who manage to establish their small businesses as the roads have started to help them reach the market.
A total of 27 barangays are located within the road influence area of the FMR. These are Iraga in Solana; Abolo, Aggurit, Alitungtung, Annabucalan, Annafatan, Baccuit, Balauini, Bauan, Bayabat, Calintaan, Caratacat, Casingsingan Norte, Casingsingan Sur, Cordova, Dafunganay, Goran, Logung, Masical, Nangalasuan, Nanuccuan, Pacac Grande, Pacac Pequeño, Palacu, Palayag, Tana and Unag in Amulung, Cagayan.