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PIA Press Release

IMAG meets to solve problems on SONA project

Tabuk, Kalinga (12 November) -- Members of the Bontoc-Lubuagan-Tabuk - Infrastructure Monitoring and Advisory Group (BLT-IMAG) agreed to solve issues and concerns delaying the completion of the Tabuk-Tinglayan section of the SONA road project before the year ends.

During a meeting of the BLT-IMAG held on November 11 at the Golden Berries resort here, stakeholders of the SONA project pushed for the total completion of the government's legacy project to the Cordilleras this year or early in 2011.

Regional Director Edilberto Carabbacan of the Department of Public Works and Highways - Cordillera Administrative Region (DPWH-CAR) said that problems causing the delay of the completion of the project must be solved in due time for work to proceed uninterrupted during the good weather starting January next year.

Updates on the SONA project shows that 48 kilometers of the 59 total length of the national road was already concreted while 11 km has not yet been cemented due to problems like demands of individuals whose properties are affected by the road widening.

Particularly given attention is the problem on road-right-of way demands by individual claimants along the road stretch specifically in Lubuagan and Tinglayan that delayed the multi-billion project from its target completion in July of last year.

Mayors Fernando Abay of Tinglayan and Johnny Dickpus of Lubuagan vowed to help solve the issues until November 30 with personnel from the Kalinga District Engineering Office (KDEO), SONA supervising engineers from DPWH-CAR and the Kalinga and Apayao Religious Sector Association (KARSA). They committed to take the lead-role in negotiating with claimants.

Carabbacan directed KDEO District Engineer Leo Mustard to inspect and validate the remaining unsolved RROW problems and coordinate with Mayors Abay and Dickpus, and the contractors to look for solutions.

DPWH-CAR and KDEO met with contractors after the BLT-IMAG meeting to strategize how these problems could be partly solved. In the early stage of the problem, claimants were given the option to take care of masonry work on the rip-rapping of their rice field walling affected by road widening but some refuse to do it, KDEO reported.

Carabbacan also asked contractors to proceed to work right after a problem is solved within their respective section in order not to delay further the completion of the project. However, he stressed that only reasonable claims are to be entertained.

As of October this year, there are 104 RROW claimants and 52 were negotiated and solved, the SONA update report showed. (PIA) [top]

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