Maslog mayor to incoming President Duterte: Continue PAMANA, please!

Maslog, Eastern Samar – Three-term Mayor Septemio ‘Bok’ Santiago is urging on incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to continue the Payapa at Masagananang Pamayanan (PAMANA) as it will provide much development to his far-flung and conflict-affected municipality once the latter hears his call. 

Maslog Mayor Septemio "Bok" Santiago (center) appeals to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to continue PAMANA to further its progressive effect to his town during the joint ocular monitoring activity of DILG, DPWH and OPAPP on PAMANA road projects in his municipality.

Maslog remains the only isolated municipality of the Province of Eastern Samar as land transportation is still practically impossible in the area. 

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) through PAMANA is currently implementing a multi-year road project implementation to connect the area to land transport. 

Currently, the town can only be accessed through a 5-hour boat ride from the municipality of Dolores. 

“An sobra nga huraw in nagpakuri ngan nagdugang pasakit ha amon kay hababaw na an tubig han salog ha amon (The long drought has made our travel more difficult and excruciating as the water level of the river has gone to a very low level),” the mayor lamented. 

“Diri na nakakasulod ha amon iton boatie sanglit napwepwersa iton mga tawo humaw-as ha Villahermosa ngan maglalakat nala hira ngadi ha amon (The boatie can no longer enter into the vicinity of our town so the passengers are forced to unload in Brgy. Villahermosa and walk in coming here),” he continued. 

The local chief said that it becomes more difficult when there are emergency situations. He said that they have witnessed a lot of times when very sick people just die without medical intervention due to inaccessibility. 

The Local Government Unit has vehicles available but they could not get out to where the hospitals are because the road to national highway cannot be used yet. 

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), PAMANA implementing partner, as of now is completing a multi-year road project amounting to P230 million to connect Maslog to Can-avid. 

The stretch with a total length of 16 kilometers requires more funding on top of what had been allocated by PAMANA already to finish its pavement. 

The latest fund allocation for the continuation of the said projects is only for the fiscal year 2016. Unfortunately, President Benigno S. Aquino III will end his term on 30 June, this year. 

“Hinaot unta nga igpadayon ini nga programa ni Presidente Digong (I hope that this program will be continued by President Digong),” Santiago said. 

Santiago said that he is afraid that if the program will not be continued, it will also be the end of their hope to a better and progressive future. 

“Magpapadayon nga makuri iton amon mga kinabuhi dinhi (We will remain living a miserable life here),” the mayor said. “Unta imo la igpadayon ini nga programa pinaagi han PAMANA (I hope you will continue PAMANA program),” Santiago said addressing the incoming president. 

Maslog is a fifth class municipality with a little more than 5,000 population. It is composed of 12 barangays and people mostly rely on agriculture for a living. 

After the PAMANA road completion in Jipapad town making it accessible to land transportation, Maslog remains the only town outside the loop of any road network. 

Apart from Maslog and Jipapad, PAMANA has also interventions in other conflict-affected areas in Eastern Samar like Can-avid, Oras, Arteche, Gen. MacArthur, Hernani and Llorente. 

Santiago will be stepping down as the municipal local chief executive on 30 June after serving three terms and will be the incoming vice mayor on 1 July 2016.

A still untouched section of the 16-kilometer Maslog to Can-avid  road distance being developed through PAMANA. 

Concreting is going on in Maslog side as part of the P100M road section completion for 2015 aimed at connecting this town to the national highway. 

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