MinDA urges PNoy to prioritize completion of Davao Norte-Bukidnon highway

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 April) — The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has urged President Benigno Aquino III to prioritize the completion of the Kapalong-Talaingod-Valencia road by 2012.


In a press statement, the MinDA said a resolution was passed during its second MinDA board meeting on March 31, to ask the President to give priority to the project started under the Arroyo administration.


“Covering a total stretch of 128.16 kilometers, the Kapalong-Talaingod-Valencia road has been ongoing since 2007 but its remaining construction works may be hampered due to lack of funding,” it added.


A report from the state-run Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on August 11, 2009 said the groundbreaking rites for the Kapalong-Talaingod-Valencia road project in February 2008 was graced by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Public Works and Highways secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr.


According to MinDA, the road project costs a total of Php 3.64 billion and “as of the latest status,” an “additional P2.29 billion is required to complete the paving and ancillary works for the entire road stretch.”


The press statement said P1.53 billion is needed to “fully pave the road and construct slope protection” on the Bukidnon side. “Currently, the Bukidnon road section is passable but with untouched sections due to lack of funds,” it added.


On the Davao del Norte side, Php 764.8 million is still needed to fully pave the road, MinDA said. “Though passable, this section is prone to landslide due to unstable embankments, side cuts and steeper slopes,” it noted.


MinDA added that the Kapalong-Talaingod-Valencia road has been converted into a national road but has no budget allocation in the 2011 General Appropriations Act.

Its completion will open the Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Valencia City in Bukidnon direct route, an alternate to the Davao City-Bukidnon via Buda route.


The road, according to MinDA, is “expected to address peace and security concerns in the area, ensure safe and year-round transport of goods and services as well as reduce travel time within the provinces of Davao del Norte and Bukidnon by 50 percent.”


MinDA quoted Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario as saying there is a need for budget allocation “so as not to delay the project which I find very vital not only in decongesting traffic in the Buda route but (to) help boost our push for more tourism.”


Del Rosario, chair of the Confederation of Mindanao Governors and Mayors and representative of Confed-Mindanao to the MinDA board, said that the road will “not only provide an alternate route for the flow of goods in Mindanao but will also help bring in tourists from Cebu and Bohol to Davao del Norte and its neighboring provinces.”


MinDA chair Luwalhati Antonino said “the movement of trade in this part of Mindanao will become faster and the price of goods will be lower and so it is now a MinDA advocacy to ask for the much-needed budget.”


MindaNews traveled the Valencia-Kapalong road in October 2010 and saw several landslide-prone areas as well as the early stages of banana plantations. (MindaNews)