NEW BRIDGE. Department of Agrarian Reform Ilocos regional director Primo Lara and Caren Grace Cabanayan during the 'Kapihan ed Ilocos' virtual forum on Friday (June 17, 2022). Lara gave updates on the programs and projects of DAR in the Ilocos Region. (Screengrab from PIA-Ilocos Region's live stream program)

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Ilocos regional office will inaugurate a new bridge in Agoo town, La Union province on June 21, the sixth project to be opened in the region under the “Tulay ng Pangulo para sa Kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo” (TPKP) program.

In a virtual press conference on Friday hosted by the Philippine Information Agency-Ilocos regional office, DAR-Ilocos regional director Primo Lara said the bridge will benefit farmers and other residents in Barangay Sta. Rita, Sta. Monica, San Julian Norte, San Vicente Norte, and San Vicente Sur by easing their transport of goods and produce as well as their commute.

"It will allow the beneficiaries or farm produce easy passage. It will connect people in different barangays, allowing them to interact for work and play. This is especially essential for areas where one barangay has an abundance of raw materials and another has a labor force in need of work. In this way, both people and barangays can support one another," Lara said.

The bridge is also expected to lessen travel time by at least 10 to 15 minutes and lower the fare of the residents by PHP10.

"It will also enable easy access to basic social services and opportunities to venture into a new enterprise," Lara added.

He said the bridge that measures 34.2 linear meters was constructed starting Jan. 15, 2021, at the cost of almost PHP8.4 million.

Other “Tulay ng Pangulo" projects were opened in Narvacan, Sta. Maria and Sto. Domingo towns in Ilocos Sur and Batac City and Burgos town in Ilocos Norte early this year.

One more bridge is under construction in Ilocos Sur and three are set to be opened soon in Pangasinan province.

“Those in Pangasinan are in Dasol, Manaoag, and Binmaley towns,” Lara said.

The "Tulay ng Pangulo" projects in the entire region are funded in the total amount of PHP75 million.

“More local government units (LGUs) are still requesting for the 'Tulay ng Pangulo' in their localities but it is subject to the approval of the central office. Most of these LGUs encounter flooding in their areas that make it difficult to transport the farmers’ produce,” Lara said.

TPKP aims to promote rural development in agrarian reform communities, enhance productivity and income through reduced marketing costs, and alleviate poverty among agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and agrarian reform areas. (PNA)