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PIA Press Release
Saturday, January 21, 2012

 

News Feature: Preliminary works ongoing for Samar MCC road project

by Olive P. Tiu

TACLOBAN CITY Leyte, January 21 (PIA) –- Preliminary works are now ongoing for the Secondary National Roads Development Project (SNRDP) under the Philippine Compact with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Engr. Rene Galapon of the Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Office 8, who is the Project Engineer, informed the Philippine Information Agency that environmental and social impact assessment is now ongoing.

The initial environmental Examination is scheduled to be completed in March of 2012 while the environmental impact assessment will be completed by June of 2012, Engr. Galapon said.

Also ongoing is the road engineering design. The project has two design packages, Engr. Galapon explained. Package A, which is from Wright-Taft-Sulat, ending at the boundary of Taft and San Julian, is being handled by Tetra Tech in association with PTCC Engineers and TCGI Engineers.

Package B, on the other hand, from San Julian to Guiuan, is handled by Gauff Engenierre in association with Schema Consult.

In addition, the resettlement work is also ongoing. The Project Affected Parties (PAPs) were briefed about the project and compensation cut of date was publicly announced during the Public Scoping in Borongan last year. The tagging process for properties that will be affected by the project was completed in September. The Preparation of Resettlement Action Plans are ongoing, first action plan is expected to be completed in March 2012 and the implementation of which is expected to start in March of 2012.

For the construction work, the first construction package is expected to start by September 2012, Engr. Galapon added.

Engr. Galapon explained that although the DPWH is the implementing agency for the SNRDP, an accountable entity, the MCC Account-Philippines or MCA-Philippines was created to ensure the judicious and transparent use of the $434-million grant from Millennium Challenge Corporation of the US Government.

“MCA-P is the Philippine corporation created to supervise and manage the implementation of the projects, including $214 million for the SNRDP,” Engr. Galapon said.

NGO partners given key role

Allaying fears of possible corruption in the roads project, Engr. Galapon said that reflective of its policy of transparency, accountability and inclusiveness, Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines (MCA-P) has mandated representatives from the private sector, non-government organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and local and regional government beneficiaries to help in the implementation of anti-poverty projects to be funded by the $434-million grant from the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

At least five (5) from the so-called NGO Sector were elected to MCA-P’s Board of Trustees, three of whom are voting members and two are non-voting, while seven (7) others are members of the Stakeholders Committee.

The three voting Board members from the NGO Sector are Fr. Cesar Aculan of Samar Partnership for Peace and Development; Atty. Cesar B. Yu Jr. of Zuellig Family Foundation; and Veronica Villavicencio of Peace and Equity Foundation. The two non-voting Board members are Edgar Comeros of PPVC Cebu and Marietta Paragas of Cordillera Network, both of whom are members of and were nominated by the Stakeholders Committee.

SNRDP scope

The Secondary National Roads Development Project (SNRDP) involves the rehabilitation of a 220-kilometer road in the Samar Island, one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. Beginning at the junction of Pan Philippine Highway and Buray (Wright) in Western Samar and passing along mountainous terrain to Taft, Engr. Galapon further said.

From Taft, it continues southward along the coastline of Eastern Samar ending in Guiuan, passing through a total of 15 municipalities. The roads project is expected to accrue economic benefits by lowering vehicle operating costs, and saving the time of Filipinos living near the roads thus enabling them to have greater access to commercial activities as well as to their basic needs. Engr. Galapon explained.

The project involves the construction/rehabilitation of existing roads and bridges that includes widening, drainage installation and other road safety improvements. The project recognizes DPWH standard right-of-way limit, the DPWH engineer added.

However, in an attempt to minimize disruption to the inhabitants and users along the road, the right-of-way shall be limited to the construction limits, which is estimated at this time to have a width spanning the existing road width plus approximately 2-3 meters on each side of the existing pavement.

Prior to the start of construction, the required right-of-way limit will be established to determine the actual land and improvements that will be affected.

The Project-Affected Parties (PAPs) will be duly notified and will have access to compensation in accordance with applicable laws and eligibility criteria, Engr. Galapon continued.

SNRDP Objectives

Engr. Galapon said the primary objective of the project is to help improve the living conditions of the people of Samar. With more accessible and safer roads, people will have more socio-economic opportunities because of reduced transport time and cost.

The farmers will be able to transport their produce in less time to the urban markets. The people from the rural areas will have more opportunity for employment and education in the urban center.

In addition, the people living in rural areas will have faster and better access to health care, especially in cases of emergency.

The project also will generate employment opportunities as skilled and unskilled workers will be required during construction and rehabilitation, Engr. Galapon said. (PIA 8)

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