BAYBAY CITY – The ongoing construction of a road project that connects the towns of Mahaplag and Hilongos, both in Leyte, will not only help in easing accessibility but will improve the condition of the villages which are considered as ‘critical areas’ due to presence of rebel members.
The road project, being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways, was endorsed to the Regional Development Council by former congressman and now Baybay City Mayor Jose Carlos Cari in 2015.
The project was funded in 2016 with ground works started in 2017. Divided into two, works of the road project simultaneously started in Mahaplag and in Hilongos town.
The road project with length of 48.25 kilometers will provide an alternate route for motorists travelling from Tacloban City to Maasin City.
From four hours travel from Tacloban to Maasin, travel time is expected to reduce by an hour.
The project is expected to be finished in 2022.
Aside from accessibility and by helping in the delivery of farm products from the interior villages to the market, the road project is also projected to help in the anti-insurgency campaign of the government.
The road passes along villages that are identified as critical areas in the towns of Mahaplag, Inopacan, Hindang and Hilongos.
Last August 15, the village chief of Barangay San Antonio, Hilongos, Virgelio Loquias, was killed by members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The NPA, an armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), said in their statement said that they “punished” Loquias “as penance for his blood debts against the People’s Democratic Government.”
They accused the village chief as “an active member of the Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN) and an organized military asset.
“Hopefully, once this is completed, they will no longer be called as critical areas,” Mayor Cari said.
“Not only (the project will) solve the problem on insurgency, but this will also help in giving better accessibility to the residents and the government in providing services during times of emergency and disaster,” Cari added.