NEDA insists Bukidnon not excluded from Super region projects

Ro-Ann Bacal, NEDA Northern Mindanao officer in charge told MindaNews  the list of projects includes the upgrading of the province's Sayre Highway, which provincial legislators earlier said was excluded.

Bacal's statement came almost a month after he faced Bukidnon's Sangguniang Panlalawigan. The legislative body summoned her on April 2 to explain why the highway wasn't included.
Provincial officials have been pushing for the rehabilitation, widening and upgrading of the highway the last past three years.

Sources said the portion requiring rehabilitation was finished in 1985 with a 15-year lifespan. It should have been replaced in 2000, senior board member Roland Deticio told MindaNews.

The Philippine Information Agency reported that the Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Office 10 "also slated the continuing rehabilitation, upgrading and widening of the highway from Puerto in Cagayan de Oro City to Dologon in Maramag, Bukidnon from 2008 to 2010."

Bacal said aside from funds for preventive and regular maintenance of the highway, they have also proposed allotment of P136 million for the Maramag-Maridugao Road in 2008 to realign the road to the national highway along Boundary Alae of Manolo Fortich to Kisolon of Sumilao town.

She also cited P50 million has been allotted for the Mangima section this year, where repair is much needed.

NEDA officials got the ire of provincial legislators earlier this month over the supposed exclusion.

Deticio said the national government is opening new highways but does not mind existing highways.

NEDA officials said it was possible the provincial development council did not endorse the project to the Regional Development Council which collates projects proposed from the provinces.

Bacal and another official said the government is implementing inter-regional projects traversing Bukidnon as part of the Mindanao super region strategy such as the P3.2 billion Talaingod, Davao del Norte – Valencia, Bukidnon Road and the P8 billion Abaga-Kirahon-Maramag-Bunawan 230 KV Transmission Project.

According to NEDA, the list also includes Mindanao-wide small irrigation projects, farm to market roads and rural electrification.

The NEDA list for the midterm plan projects in Bukidnon include the ongoing P450 million Talakag Irrigation Project,  the P1.9 billion Misamis Oriental-Bukidnon-Agusan del Norte-Butuan City Road, the P4.6 billion  Mindanao East-West Lateral Road, the Misamis Oriental-Bukidnon By-Pass Road (from the DPWH lump sum allocation), the  P210 million Rehabilitation of Pulangui IV Hydroelectric Power (HEP) Plant Reservoir  in Maramag, Bukidnon, the P250 million Mindanao North Coast Integrated Area Development Project and the Proposed P162 million Integrated Management and Protection of Watershed and Coastal Areas and P60 million Rural Roads for Food under the Food for Work Program.

Deticio, however, told MindaNews by telephone on April 28 that the NEDA officials did not mention the inclusion of the Sayre Highway and the other two related projects when they appeared beore the provincial board. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)