More paved roads for Mindanao eyed before Arroyo ends term
Davao City (5 May) -- More paved and wider roads would cater to business operators, tourists and people in Mindanao as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is set to complete major road projects before President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ends term on 30 June.
"We are bracing completion for the on-going construction of major road networks and bridges placed under the Mindanao Super Region strategy," DPWH Secretary Victor Domingo said.
Progress reports submitted by the DPWH-regional offices to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) here, show that the on-going multi-billion road projects with a total length of 451.846 km are nearing completion.
The said projects include: the Dinagat Island Road Network; Iligan City Circumferential Road; a section of the Zamboanga West Coast Road; Region 11 side of the Kapalong-Talaingod-Valencia, Bukidnon Road and the remaining four road sections of Surigao-Davao Coastal Road are nearing completion.
"The Dinagat Island Road Network shall allow the continuous delivery of agricultural products of Dinagat to the major markets and trading posts in Surigao del Norte", said Secretary Jesus Dureza, MinDA chair and super region champion for Mindanao.
Dureza added that ongoing improvement of the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road shall also improve the linkage of the towns along the eastern coast of Mindanao.
He also said that once completed, the road section from Bacuag in Surigao del Norte to Mati in Davao Oriental shall hasten the movement of products from the CARAGA Region and Davao Oriental to theDavao Port and nearby ports in Southern Mindanao region.
Moreover, the Kapalong-Talaingod-Valencia, Bukidnon road would cut the trip to Bukidnon from Davao del Norte by two hours.
With the construction of the 154.5 km Zamboanga West Coast Road, the four municipalities of Sibuco, Sirawai, Siocon and Baliguian are now connected to Zamboanga City in the south and Dipolog City in the north.
Dureza also noted the on-going road improvement of Awang-Upi-Lebak-Maguindanao road traversing Shariff Kabunsuan and Sultan Kudarat. The said project however, is set for completion by June next year.
Aside from these on-going projects, Dureza pointed out that DPWH has already finished two projects namely the Diosdado Macapagal Bridge in Butuan City and the Hawilian-Salug-Sinakungan road in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur. He also added that as of the first quarter this year, DPWH completed two sections of the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road specifically the 66.65 km Manay-Mati Road and 40.141 Bacuag- Claver Road.
"The P2.1-billion Diosdado Macapagal bridge provides an alternate, all-weather and transport-efficient link across the Agusan River.
The bridge serves as an alternate route for motorists during rush hours, saving around 30 minutes when traversing the highway of Butuan City", said Dureza.
He added that the construction of the Hawilian-Salug-Sinakungan road has improved the accessibility of the hinterland in these parts of Agusan del Sur.
Dureza said that with these road and bridges in place, the government's vision for Mindanao to achieve a vibrant integrated economy is within reach.
Domingo also said that with an able infrastructure, Mindanao can even supply the country's food requirements. "That is why the President sees to it that farm outputs can be delivered to its destinations", said Domingo, citing the importance of roads and bridges in the supply chain.
These road projects form part of the Agribusiness Mindanao super region, a multi-billion infrastructure support project started by Arroyo in 2006.
The super region strategy is the grouping of select regions according to their economic strengths while providing them with infrastructure support to stimulate economic activity and development.
For its part, Mindanao is given 36 projects which include roads, bridges, improvement of airports and seaports, upgrading of hospitals, irrigation, energy development and farm-to-market roads among others.
MinDA sits as the oversight agency among government agencies implementing Mindanao super region projects namely National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Health (DOH) and DPWH among others.
Meanwhile, data gathered and processed by MinDA show that as of 2008, Mindanao already has 4545.96 km of paved national roads. (MinDA) [top]