GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/31 August) – The national government has allocated P301.92 million for the implementation of priority flood control and road projects in South Cotabato province next year.
South Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the funds were part of the infrastructure allocation set by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for major projects in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao that would be funded under the proposed 2012 General Appropriations Act or national budget.
Out of the proposed infrastructure budget, she said the DPWH has allotted some P200 million for the ongoing construction of a 75-kilometer road network that would connect the municipalities of Maitum in Sarangani and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.
Fuentes said the rest of the funds would be utilized for the construction of flood control projects in Koronadal City and Tantangan town as well as the repair and rehabilitation of various national and secondary roads within the province.
“We’re quite satisfied with the share that were getting and we’ll continue to lobby for additional funding for the implementation of more socio-economic projects and services for the province,” she said.
Fuentes said officials of the DPWH central office informed her during the recent budget deliberations at the House of Representatives that the agency has already started its preparations for the opening of additional road sections of the Maitum-Lake Sebu road project.
She said DPWH planners are set to visit the project area of the Maitum-Lake Sebu road network next month to start the drafting of its development plan.
The road project was earlier endorsed by the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 as among the region’s priority development initiatives.
It was specifically included in the RDC’s Medium-Term Regional Development Plan for 2005-2010, Regional Development Investment Program for 2005-2010 and Regional Physical Framework Plan for 2004-2030.
The RDC-12 cited that the road project will provide a shorter link between the coastal towns of Maasim and Maitum in Sarangani and Palimbang and Lebak in Sultan Kudarat to the regional center in Koronadal City via Lake Sebu and Surallah towns in South Cotabato.
It said the road project will open up a rich agricultural area between Maitum and Lake Sebu, which also hosts huge volumes of coal deposits.
With the municipalities of Lake Sebu and Maitum presently being developed as top eco-tourism destinations of Region 12, the council said the road project will eventually make the two areas twin eco-tourism destinations.
Based on a report from the RDC’s Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC), at least P1.39 billion is needed to complete the Maitum-Lake Sebu road project.
The RPMC noted that the DPWH initially allocated P15 million in 2007 and another P44 million in 2008 from its infrastructure program to start the construction of the project’s five road sections, three in South Cotabato and two in Sarangani. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)