New road improves lives in Silvino Lubos, Northern Samar

By Sarwell Meniano

May 7, 2024, 4:52 pm

<p><strong>ACCESSIBLE.</strong> A street in Silvino Lubos, Northern Samar in this May 6, 2024 photo. The road leading to the town has stimulated economic activities in the area. <em>(PNA photo by Sarwell Meniano)</em></p>

ACCESSIBLE. A street in Silvino Lubos, Northern Samar in this May 6, 2024 photo. The road leading to the town has stimulated economic activities in the area. (PNA photo by Sarwell Meniano)

SILVINO LUBOS, Northern Samar – With the completion of an access road leading to this upland town from the provincial capital, Edison Mabanag, 43, is confident that the younger generation will not suffer the same ordeal of walking on a muddy road to earn a college degree.

Edison, who completed a community development course at the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP) in Catarman in 2000, said life has changed for the townsfolk here since the completion of the road and bridges project last year.


It is common to see motorcycles and even cars plying its narrow street, a scene he has not seen until 2021. Locals have started buying motorcycles after the initial opening of the road network and the building of temporary bridges in late 2020.

He recalled that during his college days, they must leave their hometown at 3 a.m., walk along a muddy trail, and arrive at the nearest road in Mondragon town at 9 a.m. to catch a motorcycle ride to the UEP campus in Catarman, the capital of Northern Samar.

“Because of the situation, we only went home to visit our family every December for Christmas and New Year holidays and every May to join the town fiesta celebration,” recalled Edison, who now works as a job order employee of the local government.

Better lives

Maria Cristina Mabanag, a mother of seven, said that since the road completion and bridge project, more community stores have opened in their town, stimulating economic activity.

For several years, she worked as a street sweeper, earning only PHP150 daily during weekdays. When her cousin opened a store last year, she was hired as a storekeeper, ensuring her a PHP250 daily pay.

“I have two children studying criminology and automotive at UEP. They can now come home weekly since our town is now accessible,” Maria Cristina said in an interview on Monday.

The fare for a 40-km. motorcycle ride from this town to Catarman is PHP250, cheaper than the PHP500 fare when the road and bridges were still under construction. Some people began accessing the town by land when detour bridges were built in late 2020.

The 3.25-km. road and bridge network has reduced the usual 12-hour boat ride to the town from a wharf in Pambujan town to just 45 minutes to an hour by land.

The municipal information office reported that the completion of the Suba Bridge in June 2023 within the new road that connects the town to a highway in Mondragon town signals the full completion of the road network.

Since 2011, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity - Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan has set aside PHP982.5 million to build three bridges and their road components leading to this town.

Earlier, Silvino Lubos Mayor Leo Jarito said the project is key to ending insurgencies in their town and nearby areas. They have been waiting for this project for five decades.

“This is the most-awaited moment for the town to finally get connected to the capital and other municipalities in Northern Samar. It has already been five decades since the people of Silvino Lubos waited for such progress,” Jarito said.

Silvino Lubos, a fourth-class town and home to more than 15,000 people, was the poorest town in the country in 2015, with a poverty incidence of 78.5 percent. The poverty rate dropped to 56.9 percent in 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. (PNA)