P2.2B Central Mindanao road project a promise fulfilled for PGMA
South Upi, Maguindanao (19 May) -- Having given special attention to Mindanao by way of infrastructures, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was beaming as she made an aerial inspection of the P2.178-billion Awang-Upi-Kalamansig Road or the Central Mindanao Road Project, which makes the Lebac and Cotabato City ports more accessible to travelers and farmers.
For her, it was a fulfillment of a promise she made not only during her first State of the Nation Address (SONA) but even during her presidential campaign.
In her speech before members of the Taduray tribe which make up 70 percent of the population here, the President said her administration has spent billions of pesos on roads in Cotabato, Maguindanao and neighboring provinces because she considers herself a daughter of Mindanao, having grown up in her ancestral home in Iligan City.
In fact, she is the only national candidate back in 2004 to campaign from Lebac to Kalamansig in these provinces. Her sorties, it turned out, have proven fruitful as they gave her their overwhelming support in her bid.
The project comes in three tranches: the two-kilometer Awang to the border of North Upi border, which is 76 percent complete, will be opened next month; the 27.88-km. stretch from North Upi to the border of Sultan Kudarat will be completed next year; and the 56.92-km Sultan Kudarat to Kalamansig leg, which will be finished by this November.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Victor Domingo said that while flying over the roads, the President voiced her wish that people will engage in farming, planting napier and para grass for cattle raising and livestock farming, and engaging in other productive ventures to take optimum advantage of their better road systems.
"We saw that your lands are now filled with cogon grass," Domingo told residents.
The President said even at its construction stage, the road project has brought jobs and income to a lot of people such as carpenter Son Abukalis, a resident here who has been gainfully employed as a construction worker for the past five years and who now see the gradual progress of his town.
For corn farmers like Alex Racines, the completion of the road project will reduce post harvest losses and improve income since he will be able to bring his produce directly to the market place and not depend solely on traders who buy right at the farms at very low prices. (PIA-MMIO) [top]