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Illegal Land conversions threaten Nueva Vizcaya's agricultural production

Nueva Vizcaya, March 18 (PNA) - The provincial agricultural office here has expressed concern over the growing trend of illegal land conversions in most parts of the province.

Felipe Panganiban, provincial agricultural officer, said at least a hundred hectares of profitable agricultural lands have been indiscriminately converted for residential or commercial purposes. He said the illegal conversions have caused the reduction in the province's rice production. The provincial agriculturist said the reduction in rice production can go as high as 8,000 cavans per harvest season. The provincial office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) confirmed the indicscriminate land conversions happening in the province.

Atty. Bronhild Dakilay, the legal officer of the DAR provincial office which is mandated to monitor and control any land conversions, said her office has gathered substantial photographs and other documents indicating the existence of illegally converted lands along the national highway.

She said the problems will continue unabated because of some technicalities like the absence of a duly approved municipal land use plan.

On the other hand, Gov. Rodolfo Q, Agbayani said he has ordered the municipalities of the province to draw up and submit their land use and zoning plans to the provincial government but some municipalities are beset with lack of funds to come up with the needed plans. The provincial DAR also said the problem has remained unchecked because of the affected farmers' fear to testify against people behind the illegal conversions consisting mostly of affluent and influential people. (PNA)

Cagayan Valley flagship projects nearing completion

By Lynda B. Valencia, MANILA, March 20 (PNA) - - Two flagship projects implemented in Cagayan Valley Region are currently in full blast construction and are set to be fully completed this year, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Region II Director Segundo P. Urata said that these projects, which are expected to accelerate economic activities in the provinces of Cagayan,Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Viscaya are the restoration and upgrading of Santiago-Tuguegarao road worth P972.8 million and Bambang-Kasibu road costing P94.6 million. Urata said that Santiago-Tuguegarao road is due for completion by September while Bambang-Kasibu road is scheduled to be completed this coming June.

Philip de Vera, Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-Project Management Office ((IBRD-PMO) said the 121.45 kilometers restoration of Santiago-Tuguegarao road project involves the widening of existing concrete pavement, improvement of drainage facilities, construction of two existing bridges and upgrading of the entire deteriorated AC/gravel road stretch to Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) pavement. Upon completion, the project is expected to boost the mobility and productivity of several towns along its route which starts from Santiago, Isabela and proceeds northward passing through the municipalities of Ramon, San Miguel, Cabatuan, Aurora, Roxas, Malig, Quezon and Enrile, which is 4.5 kilometers from the town proper of Tuguegarao, Cagayan. The road project serves as an important alternate route and is envisioned to provide the users of Cagayan Valley Road (Pan-Philippine Highway) lesser vehicle traffic, minimal operating costs for transportation companies and reduction of travel time by 26 kilometers. Urata also stressed that the ABD-funded Bambang-Kasibu road which has a total length of 32.60 kilometers involves the construction of three culverts, four new bridges and upgrading of the existing road with combination of concrete and gravel surfacing.

Completion of the said road rehabilitation project which passes through the mountains terrains of Nueva Ecija is expected to reduce travel time by approximately two hours. (PNA) jv/LBV/aav --CLICK BACK TO GO BACK>>>--TO THE INDEX