Road in peril of collapse

DATU PAGLAS, Maguindanao―Fast riverbank erosion is posing a danger to thousands of highway commuters along the Buluan-Datu Paglas section of the Mindanao Road IV Project connecting five provinces.

Due to geological alterations of its contour, the northeast bank of the Alip River here is closing in on the edge of the busy national highway, a major route for commuter buses to and from Davao, Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said the downstream contour of the Alip River narrows onto the edge of the concrete road to only about 23 meters.

It is much like running water creeping over a large part of the national highway, Mangudadatu said, posing a major economic setback to the area from its potential effect on the movement of goods and services to the connectivity of people across Central Mindanao.

The imperiled road section is part of the Mindanao Road IV Project under the Asian Development Bank-Project Management Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain, the top official in charge of foreign-assisted projects, told Manila Standard the department will promptly respond to the provincial government’s request to Public Works Secretary Mark Villar for his department’s intervention “to prevent a collapse or cutting-off of the road.”

Residents have largely blamed the engineered diversion of the river in the 1980s to serve the Alip River Irrigation Project for the current massive riverbank erosion.  

Meanwhile, in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, some 3,000 farmers stand to benefit from two multipurpose solar drying pavements worth P400,000 each, which the autonomous regional government provided to farmers’ cooperatives.

On Wednesday, the Humanitarian and Development Assistance Program—Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (HDAP-ARMM) turned over two of the post-harvest facilities for Barangays Poblacion and Dato, both in Datu Piang.

Sonora Dagadas, Datu Piang municipal agriculture officer, said the new drying facilities would directly benefit farmers not only from the town but from other areas in the province as well.

“All farmers can use this facility, cost effective and helpful to small farmers. Also, it would mean more profits,” Dagadas said.

The beneficiaries are members of cooperatives who own lands where the solar drying pavements are constructed.

“We used to go to other areas to dry our palay and corn crops, and that would mean more expenses. Now that dryer is here, we can save and increase our profit,” said Saida Ungkakay, chair of the Farmers Association Cooperative in Barangay Poblacion. With PNA

Started in 2016, the two projects were completed late last year and officially turned over to the beneficiaries.

In a statement, HDAP-ARMM said 18 other solar drying units were also built in the towns of Talayan, Guindulungan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, and Mamasapano.

The new drying facilities were scheduled for turnover to farmer-beneficiaries this week, program officials said.

HDAP-ARMM was created to address the needs and provide immediate interventions to families in areas affected by violent encounters between the military and rebels in previous years. With PNA


Topics: DATU PAGLAS , Maguindanao , Fast riverbank erosion , danger , highway commuters , Alip River
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