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PIA Press Release

JICA's second batch of infra projects due for implementation

By Dave Malcampo

Isabela, Basilan (June 29) -- The second batch of infra projects funded by the Japan International Coordinating Agency (JICA) are due for implementation in several areas within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) anytime this year.

Officials from the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP) and winning contractor-bidders signed the contracts last June 11 and 23 for the construction of subprojects under the Strategic Regional Infrastructure (SRI). These include the construction of 4 units high school buildings of two-storey/eight-classrooms per unit; 4 local government centers; a rock causeway; and the concreting of access road leading to a hospital.

Atty. Mustapha Sambolawan, Project Manager of the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP), said that the series of contract signings manifests the regional government's earnest desire to uplift the social and economic situation of people in the poor and conflict-affected communities in the region. "This could not only improve employment opportunities and household incomes but assures food security as well," Sambolawan stressed.

The 4 high school buildings are to be constructed at Andong National High School in Lumbatan, Lanao del Sur; at Maimbung National High School, in Sulu; at Lamitan National High Schoo in Basilan; and at Bato-Bato National High School in Panglima Sugala, Tawi-tawi.

The 4 Local Government Centers will be constructed in the municipalities of Rajah Buayan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Unsay Ampatuan - all in Maguidanao Province.

The rock causeway will be constructed in Banguigui Fishing Port in Sulu; and the access road concreting will be from the national highway leading to Dr. Serapio B. Montaner Hospital in Malabang, Lanao del Sur.

Sambolawan pointed out that the concreting of access road to the hospital would ensure safe and easy access of patients to health services, while the construction of Local Government Centers will provide quality venue for local governments of each municipality, line agencies and civil society organizations towards responsive local governance.

Sambolawan added that the construction another two-storey-eight-classroom high school building for Maguindanao National High School in Shariff Aguak is still under evaluation and due for rebidding.

The ASFP has three project components: the Community Development Assistance (CDA), the Strategic Regional Infrastructure (SRI), and the Institutional Strengthening and Governance (ISG).

A total of 33 SRI subprojects were approved by JICA in 2007. Seven of the first batch of infrastructures began construction last year. The second batch for this year is just awaiting notice from JICA to start its implementation.

The CDA and SRI project components in the ARMM are part of the 2.47 billion yen commitment of Japan government through JICA fund in 2005 to support the peace and development program of the Philippine Government.

Meanwhile, Regional Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Rasul Abpi said that the regional government generally aims to strengthen the physical foundation of the autonomous region's economy thus construction of school buildings plays a big role to support the thrust.

On the other hand, ARMM Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan lauded the efforts of the ASFP, the line agencies and other groups who collectively collaborate during consultations, project preparations and planning processes that would eventually bring to a realization these strategic infrastructures in the different provinces within the region. (BPI / PIA9-BST) [top]

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