The Samar Peace and Development Caravan is a convergence initiative initiated by the Provincial Peace and Order Council and various national agencies held April 23 in Matuguinao Samar. (Photo by Emy Bonifacio)
The Samar Peace and Development Caravan is a convergence initiative initiated by the Provincial Peace and Order Council and various national agencies held April 23 in Matuguinao Samar. (Photo by Emy Bonifacio)

GANDARA, Samar (PNA) — Close to 400 community folks from the remote town of Matuguinao benefited from the pool of services made possible during the Peace and Development Caravan held in the area Tuesday.

The caravan initiated by the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Samar supported by various national government agencies was highlighted by the launching of a P4.5-million road project in Barangay Barruz to be funded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP).

The road surfacing and construction of the 1.9-kilometer stretch from Gandara town to Matuguinao once completed will provide comfortable land travel to commuters and local farmers when they transport their farm products.

The provincial government of Samar also allotted P4.4 million additional fund for the said road project, it was learned.

The government’s PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) Technical Working Group will oversee the over-all implementation of the project.

OPAPP Samar Area Manager Imelda C. Bonifacio informed that the project is anchored on the national security policy of President Benigno Aquino III focused on governance, delivery of basic services, economic reconstruction and sustainable development and security sector reform.

Prior to the launching, a convoy of 15 vehicles proceeded to this once New People’s Army (NPA)-infested town bringing with them a “package of government program” including health services, infrastructures and livelihood assistance.

“We see to it that real needs of communities are served. It’s like bottom-up planning already. We brought the government closer to the people, not the other way around,” Bonifacio said.

Aside from securing the safety of the participants, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) rendered the health needs of the villagers using their high-end Cebu-based “dental van” equipped with complete medical kits. The AFP/PNP medical and dental team serviced some 300 to 400 community folks.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Samar also distributed Certificates of Training worth P20,000 to scholars who qualified for short courses.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the other hand offered livelihood assistance as alternative source of income. It also encouraged the public not to engage in illegal logging and quarrying.

Moreover, Bonifacio announced that all barangays in the municipality of Matuguinao is a beneficiary of P300,000 worth of projects for the next three years from 2013 to 2015 to address the priority needs of the village folks under the PAMANA K-CIDSS program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and local governments unit also participated in the delivery of service directly to the communities.

The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Eastern Visayas earlier signified cooperation to replicate the future “convergence program” in Eastern and Northern Samar provinces. (PNA)