DPWH earmarks P27-B for Mindanao roads; R-12 proposes 6 projects

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/8 July) —  Mindanao  will get some P27 billion for the paving of national road networks next year to improve the movement of goods and people in the south, officials said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) P27 billion budget for road projects in 2013 is P7 billion higher than this year’s allocation, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) reported on Friday.

In Region 12, the Regional Development Council has endorsed six road projects to improve the region’s tourism potentials.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said the road concreting project is in support of the government’s strategy to spur development in Mindanao.

He said that as of this year, 69% of the national roads in Mindanao are still unpaved, making it the area with the least number nationwide, of kilometers of paved roads

“It is very clear that Mindanao should get a bigger share of the budget,” Singson stressed.

He added that in  the past three years, DPWH has been allocating 26% of its budget for Mindanao.

Also this year the department has allocated an additional P2.8 billion solely for roads development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, MinDA chair, stressed that Mindanao still lags behind in terms of its transport networks, which affects the efficiency of flow of goods in the island-region.

“A lot still needs to be done in our road networks, especially because these are essential in promoting our role as the country’s food basket,” Antonino said.

She also stressed that Mindanao’s accelerated growth and economic take-off “is possible once the island achieves full physical integration and interconnectivity.”

The RDC-12 has endorsed to the DPWH and the Department of Tourism the concreting of six road projects to boost their tourism potentials: Poblacion Lake Sebu-Seloton-Seven Falls-Lake Lahit road; Junction National Highway (Sarangani-Davao del Sur Coastal Road to Gumasa White Beach road); Kidapawan-llomavis road; Junction National Highway (Sarangani-Sultan Kudarat coastal road to Pangui-Wali-New La Union road); Junction National Highway (Makilala-Allah Valley road to Baras Bird Sanctuary road); and Junction National Highway (Cotabato-Digos road to Barangay New Israel Road).

Arturo Valero, National Economic and Development Authority Region 12 director, said the RDC-12 found the proposed tourism road projects significant to the socio- economic progress of their influence area and the region as a whole.

“These projects would open opportunities for employment and productive economic activities, thus will improve eventually the quality of life of the beneficiary communities,” he said.

Valero, also the RDC-12 vice chair, said the DPWH, DOT and the Institutional Development Foundation, Inc. early this year entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to pursue the integration of plans and programs in support of the government’s tourism infrastructure development as mandated by Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)