Residents in two remote Benguet villages with no access road appeal for help from national government  

Published August 14, 2022, 6:36 PM

by Comanda Rizaldy C.

TUBA, Benguet — Residents in remote villages of Balococ and Goldstream in Barangay Camp 4, Tuba, Benguet, are appealing to the government for better access roads.

Photo via Zaldy Comanda

Barely a week from now, more than a 100 elementary students in the said villages will be attending face-to face classes and their main concern now is the three-kilometer of rugged, mountainous stretch which they will trek to reach their school in Camp 4.

School children in Sitios Balococ and Goldstream are excited to go to schools after two long years of home study because of health protocols required during Covid-19 pandemic.

Transport infrastructure is the wealth of a community as well as of the whole nation, a tool for social inclusion, economic development and environmental sustainability.

“The condition of our roads need improvement and we are appealing to the government for help-sustaining; like every one, roads are a lifeline to progress,” said Angie Sugalan, a mother and president of Sugalan Clan small-scale mining group.

Sugalan added that with the onset of the rainy season, landslides would be an added burden, especially to children who go to school, and the people who seek daily food provisions, or report for work, and medical needs.

“At times, people in our community including local pocket miners, women groups share time in fixing damaged sections of the roads for easy mobility,” Sugalan said.

She said they have to withstand the long section of the zigzagging rugged road which is enough only for a motorcycle.

In previous years, she said, people in the community had to solicit funds for the improvement of some sections of the road.

Some 50 motorbikes operated privately are the only means of transportation in the villages, and school children have to pay fare ranging from P50 to P100 per person. Students and senior citizens are given discounts.

David Tomilas, president of Goldstream Small-Scale mining association, also appealed for government support for the road widening.

Sandy Asmin, former Barangay Kagawad of Camp 4, and currently the treasurer of Goldstream SSM, said Sitios Bacolod and Goldstream have been receiving assistance from the government of Tuba, and Provincial Government of Benguet in terms of road improvements.

Asmin added that in recent months, through the barangay officials (Camp 4), the Municipal Government of Tuba infused P500,000 for the construction of flood control in Sitio Goldstream, and additional P2 million from the Benguet Province through Gov. Melchor Diclas for said flood control facility.