Light shines on East Pangia

Chief Waira Kapolo on a stretcher from his village to the nearest main road to seek medical assistance. This is evidence of neglect by Ialibu-Pangia district administration for over 20 years.

WIRUS are the natives of Pangia district in Southern Highlands and they are an amiable lot.
The local Wiru dialect is only spoken in the area unlike many other languages spoken in many other districts and provinces.
The origin of the Wiru language is unknown but it is only spoken by Pangia people only.
Wirus who have always considered strangers and foreigners nothing less than a friends. Their strength of character, their energy to keep going, and their zeal in a life dedicated to serving others has been worthy examples to their sons and daughters for unselfish living.
In late 2019 a thought evolved from a son of East Pangia, Samson Apai, after spotting an old Bailey bridge lying idle which may have been at the disposal of his immediate boss in the the Department of Works in Morobe.
After getting approval from the boss he could not wait to contact his close friends and seniors for a need he knew had always been impossible to accomplish by any other beside himself.
Normally, such an idea would not be easily accepted by other persons of high status or good standing in the community by coming together for a ‘rare feat.’
After Apai approached few seniors and persons of standing in the community, they easily convinced and delighted. After his discussion with them, he contacted few educated elites from East Pangia working in government and private companies to have an initial briefing at Heritage Cafe at Waigani, Port Moresby.
Following that meeting a group, East Pangia Elites, was formed. This group now is now well-known in Pangia District and their maiden task was the launching of a bridge on Sept 19, 2020 at Alimbu Village in East Pangia.
During the bridge launching 30-plus elites converged in a convoy of 20 vehicles to witness and petitioned their local member and former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and also gave him the honour to cut the ribbon to launch the project.
East Pangia elites are predominantly made up of Port the Moresby-based group from East Pangia area. The group is not intended to pursue any favours nor affiliations with anyone to pursue their political aspiration and dreams but is somewhat a pressure group to force elected leaders at all levels of government to ‘walk-the-talk.’
The rationale is that their area has missed out on many fundamental government services for over 20 years now.
Just last week, the elites received its largest single funding so are, a cheque for K2 million from Southern Highlands Governor William Powi for road maintenance work in the East Pangia area.
The cheque was part payment of Governor Powi’s commitment of K4 million for the East Pangia road which he promised some months ago to the group at Laguna Hotel in Port Moresby.
The cheque was presented to the contractor, Yau Contractors in the presence of Southern Highlands administrator Jeffrey Sonk, community leaders and a media team.
Governor Powi also outlined his commitment for other roads in Ialibu-Pangia electorate including the Taguru road which is a part Wiru loop road in the South Wiru LLG which had also been neglected for over 20 years too.
K1 million for Taguru road maintenance will be presented over the Christmas period. Governor Powi said Tanguru and East Pangia roads funding were included in his government’s plans for 50 feeder roads in the province.
Another commitment of K1 million was made for the Siwi-Teme feeder road also in the Ialibu-Pangia electorate.
Governor Powi said, “not every East Pangia elite in the group supports me or are my supporters but what East Pangia elites are doing is the way forward.
“When they set aside their differences and congregate together to pursue a common interest for their people, they are supporting and embracing the interventions of the provincial government.
‘If we have such groups in all 19 LLGs in Southern Highlands, we should not have any problem in delivering much-needed services with little hindrance. Sometimes, humble yourselves and partner with the provincial government,” Governor Powi said.

Governor William Powi (left) presenting the cheque for K2 million to Henry Yakura, the managing director of Yau Contractors Ltd in the presence of East Pangia elites at Airways on Wednesday last week. – Picture by JACK NOAH YAMAHA

East Pangia leaders echoed the governor’s remarks and commended him for the funding commitment.
Rodney Kapi, principal of Waira Lawyers, Anthony Waira and former Alia ward councilor Luke Yamah thanked Governor Powi for making good his promise with K2 million within a short period.
Managing Director of Yau Constructors Ltd, Henry Yakura in receiving the cheque, said the amount was not sufficient for the 26km road but thanked the governor on behalf of the communities who would benefit from the road.
Governor Powi said he knew Henry Yakura well and trusted him to do the job diligently even with a little amount given while the other half of the funding would be made available in 2022.
For East Pangia elites, Governor Powi’s gesture was something they needed to end the year 2021 on a happy note.
The group will be knocking again on the doors of Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Niell and Governor Powi to “dig deeper into their pockets” to make good promises they had made already.
The East Pangi elites are as determined as ever after receiving the first and largest amount so far from the provincial government.
It tells them that they are doing the right thing in their quest for service delivery in East Pangia, an area that has been overlooked for years.

  • Jack Yamaha is a freelance writer.