In Eastern Samar

DOLORES, Eastern Samar-Residents of Maslog town are excited about the near completion of a road project connecting their municipality to the rest of the province.

Merlie Oplado, a 57-year-old resident of Barangay Bulawan said that the completion of this road would mean better access to education for college students and improved transport for patients to the nearest medical facility.

Currently, most students from her village travel via motorboat on the Maslog River to Dolores River, then ride a motorcycle or jeepney to Can-avid town, where the Eastern Samar State University campus is located.

The motorboat ride takes about three to four hours, while the completed road from Brgy. Carolina in Can-avid to Maslog would only take about 40 to 45 minutes.

The road from the national highway within Carolina village of Can-avid, passing through interior villages of Dolores town, is only 34 kilometers to Maslog.

While several sections of the road are already concreted, over four kilometers still need to be cemented. Currently, travel from Carolina to Maslog takes more than an hour due to bumpy road conditions, with fares for jeepney and motorboat both costing P 150.

“When this road is completed, we won’t have to worry so much about other expenses like boarding houses and food for our children in college. They can go home after classes, especially if they have a motorcycle,” said Lacasa, whose children stay in a boarding house in Can-avid during school days.

Mayor Heraclio Santiago noted that the biggest benefit of completing the Carolina-Dolores-Maslog road would be the end of the insurgency problem that has affected their municipality.

Due to its location in the interior of Samar Island, Maslog is identified as a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDA) needing more support from the national government.

“Since time immemorial, we have been isolated,” Mayor Santiago said. “But once this road is completed, it will hasten development, make our town accessible, and address poverty, which is the root cause of insurgency,” he added.

On Sunday (June 23), a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Brgy. Hinolaso, this town, for the start of the road concreting project for the remaining unpaved portion.

The event was graced by House Minority Floor Leader and 4Ps party-list Representative Marcelino Libanan, Dolores Mayor Rodrigo Rivera, and other local chief executives of Eastern Samar province, headed by League of the Municipalities of the Philippines Eastern Samar president Daniel Boco.

Libanan emphasized that finishing the road is vital for addressing the insurgency problem and improving agricultural production, particularly rice, vegetables, and other crops.
The project, which costs over P300 million, includes constructing three bridge approaches in Hinolaso village and is targeted to be finished within the year.

Libanan added that another issue along the Carolina-Dolores-Maslog road that needs to be addressed is flooding, which severely affects all communities in the area due to climate change and global warming.

He suggested constructing a mega-dike or river flood control project to prevent water from the Dolores River from overflowing into the communities along the riverbank.