Borongan City – Two influential councils in the province have jointly endorsed for the inclusion in the Regional Development Plan (RDP) the P120 million peace-building infrastructure projects and part of the P16-million livelihood intervention of Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) to be implemented in the province of Eastern Samar this year as part of the government’s efforts to sustain peace in conflict affected and vulnerable areas.
The Provincial Peace and Order Council and Provincial Development Council, convened jointly, passed the resolution saying PAMANA projects have provided clear and obvious development impact in the province. Also included in the resolution is the 2017 proposed projects amounting to P282 million.
The 2016 infrastructure projects will be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), a new implementing partner of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). PAMANA is the government’s program through OPAPP that extends development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict affected communities. Jipapad and Maslog are identified as PAMANA areas in the province.
Included in the 2016 funds are: construction of road, Barangay Carolina, Can-avid to Brgy. Dampigan, Dolores-Maslog (P50M); construction of road, Camantang to Jepaco, Can-avid; construction of Farm-Market-Road, Brgy. Roxas to Sitio Inulanguhan, Gen. MacArthur; and construction of FMR, Brgy. Pingan to Brgy. Alang-alang, Gen. MacArthur.
Also in the pipeline is a parcel of the P16 million livelihood fund coursed through Department of Agriculture (DA). This amount will be shared by the province of Samar and Eastern Samar. DA has yet to receive the project proposals for the budget for final identification of projects.
PAMANA has been implemented in Eastern Samar since 2013 and has shelled out P535 million in various projects until 2015. These projects were implemented by DA, Provincial Government and Department of Interior and Local Government. DPWH also implemented various infrastructure projects by virtue of a memorandum of agreement with DA. “This year, we are directly partnering with DPWH for infra projects,” Emy Bonifacio said. Bonifacio is the PAMANA Director in Eastern Visayas.
Meanwhile, the proposed 2017 projects are pegged at P282 million subject to final approval of OPAPP and DBM. The funds are intended to be used in the construction of Hinolaso Bridge in Doleres and FMRs in the towns of Oras, Arteche and San Policarpo.
Governor Conrado Nicart, Jr., chairperson of both councils said that he hopes PAMANA will linger in the province longer so that the people especially in far-flung areas can continue to benefit from its projects.
In another development, Mayor Emiliana Villacarillo of Dolores town said that she is donating a 9-hectare land in her town to serve as resettlement area for Former Rebels (FRs). “I have been offering this for quite some time already and nobody seems to listen,” she said. The Councils passed a resolution requesting OPAPP to fund the initial development phase of the property.