ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 28 April) – Elements of the Philippine Army’s 554 Engineer Battalion of the 55th Engineer Brigade are now clearing debris along a mountain road in one of this city’s hinterland barangays that was blocked by a landslide last March.
Lt. Col. Hassan Badar, 554EB commanding officer, said that on their third day of clearing operations on Wednesday, they have so far removed 1,000 cubic meters of soil and gravel along a 30-meter stretch of a road in Sitio Binasan in Barangay Rogongon.
He said the landslide occurred in March but they could not start perform clearing operations immediately because of an encounter between the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion and the New People’s Army in the area.
Badar said he sent a backhoe loader onboard a prime mover on Monday and started operations right away so residents could again fully access the road. He said the city government and the 2nd Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways provided diesel fuel for the heavy equipment.
The 554EB, he said, is also currently undertaking construction of an all-weather road in Iligan’s hinterland barangays traversing Rogongon, Dulag, Kalilangan and Panoroganan to help farmers improve their lot.
Col. Irineo Sebastian, commander of the 55th Engineer Brigade, said once the road is completed, travel time will be shortened and expected to spur economic development and thus improve peace and order in the area.
Rogongon barangay chairman Rady Pugoy noted that they now pay P160 to P200 per person going to downtown Iligan on a motorcycle. But he added that it is even more expensive from Panoroganan, at about P500, due to bad road conditions. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)