Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte—Pebble picking remains a problem in Barangay Caruan of this town as there had been no viable alternative livelihood provided by concerned government authorities to pebble pickers.
In an interview with Mayor Oscar D. Aguinaldo, he reported that they tried to stop pebble pickers in the area but it resulted in worse conditions as it increase illegal fishing and robbery incidents.
“Idi pinadas mi a pinaigetan ida iti naglablabas a tawen, immadu met ti agtatakaw ket addinamita nga inaldaw di tay ammo no ania’t adda iti pampanunot dagitoy a kakailian tayo ta baka mapan da pay ket sumrek nga ag-NPA,” Aguinaldo said.
The local chief executive pointed out that an alternative livelihood should be provided for them so that Caruan residents will no longer turn to pebble picking, which contributes to environmental degradation and siltation in the area.
Aguinaldo reported that there had been an initial dialogue conducted between the municipal government of Pasuquin and the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, represented by provincial administrator Irineo Martinez, to settle the problem of giving Caruan residents an alternative livelihood but up to this time, it has yet to be implemented.
According to Aguinaldo, the provincial government has committed to provide the needed funding but the amount has not been granted as of presstime.
“Kinaagpaysuanna saan tayo met a kas karina a mapasardeng dagiti agpidpidot ti pebbles iti Barangay Caruan ta problema tayo met ti kaawan a maited nga alternative livelihood para kadakuada,” the mayor pointed out.
The Ilocos Times also learned that the provincial government wanted the municipal government of Pasuquin to share in funding the livelihood program but Aguinaldo said the local government unit has a limited budget which is not even enough to realize all of their priority programs and projects.
Presently, the Pasuquin government is concentrating on infrastructure development such as the concreting of all provincial and barangay roads.
The local chief executive also stressed that the said project is 70 percent complete and that they are still lobbying for funds to complete the road development program.
Leilanie G. Adriano