Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Benjamin Abalos Jr. speaks to residents and municipal government officials during the launching of the Kalayaan Project: Bayanihang Adhikain, Bayaning Aksiyon. | Photo from Kalayaan LGU

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Benjamin Abalos Jr. led various national government agencies in visiting Barangay Pag-asa in Kalayaan island town to launch the “Kalayaan Project: Bayanihang Adhikain, Bayaning Aksiyon” on April 22.

The project is in response to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s directive to extend government services to the remotest areas, particularly those belonging to the fourth and fifth class local government units (LGUs) that rely solely on national tax allotments for their operations and services.

During the kick-off activity, a dialogue was held between officials of Kalayaan and representatives of participating government agencies. These pledged funding for major projects and equipment aimed at empowering the LGU and supporting the general welfare of Pag-asa residents.

Some of the notable pledges and commitments include the construction of school building with 10 classrooms and health facilities, shelters in different islets of Kalayaan, a cold storage facility, improvement of water supply in Pag-asa Island, skills training on food-processing and organic agriculture production, solid waste management programs, and cash assistance for students.

External funding support was also committed for all project proposals of the LGU Kalayaan.

Kalayaan Mayor Roberto Del Mundo, during the meeting with Abalos, presented too a list of priority projects and equipment needed for the community, including a municipal hall, barangay hall, steel hull seacraft, service vehicle, fire protection building, housing, high-end communications equipment, and a water desalination facility, among others.

“Isa sa mga ipinangako sa amin ay ang pagtatayo ng mga tirahan sa iba pang isla na nasasakop ng bayan ng Kalayaan. Malaking tulong ito para sa amin kaya masaya kaming malaman na may ganitong proyektong paparating sa aming bayan (One of the promises made to us is the construction of shelters in other islands under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Kalayaan. This will be a big help for us, and we are happy to know that such a project is coming to our town),” Del Mundo said.

“Ang pagbisita ng mga head of national agencies ay isang patunay ng pagkakaisa at pagtutulungan upang matugunan ang mga pangangailangan at mabigyan ng kaukulang aksyon sa pamamagitan ng mga proyekto para sa mga munisipyo gaya ng Bayan ng Kalayaan (The visit of the heads of national agencies is a testament to unity and cooperation in addressing the needs and providing appropriate actions through projects for municipalities like the Municipality of Kalayaan),” Del Mundo said.

Highlighting the commitment to environmental sustainability, Abalos also led a tree planting activity with the community as part of the government’s reforestation program. This aims to promote the preservation of natural resources in the community and enhance resilience against the adverse effects of climate change.

The Kalayaan Project: Bayanihang Adhikain, Bayaning Aksiyon demonstrates the Philippine Government’s commitment to support the community by empowering the LGU and providing necessary resources to uplift the lives of residents, the DILG said. (with a report from R. Rodriguez)