GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 21 September)– The national government has allocated an additional P200 million for the opening and development next year of another section of the 75-kilometer Lake Sebu-Maitum road network in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani, Second District Rep. Daisy Avance Fuentes said on Friday.
She said the appropriation was included in the infrastructure allocation of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for Region 12 or the Soccsksargen region under the proposed General Appropriations Act or national budget for next year.
She said her office earlier lobbied with the DPWH for the additional funding to help speed up the completion of the project, which would mainly connect the municipalities of Maitum in Sarangani and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.
“This is a big boost for the project. We can now assure our residents there that they will not grow old without ever seeing this road network fully completed,” she said in her regular radio program.
Citing the DPWH’s development plan, Fuentes said the additional funds would be utilized to continue with the development of the unfinished portions of the five-section road network.
She said the DPWH allocated P150 million for the road’s South Cotabato section and P50 million for the Sarangani section.
Such funding is on top of the fuel, repair and maintenance allocation set aside by DPWH for the road network, she said.
“It would specifically cover for the sections of the road network that were not included in the DPWH’s P175 million allotment for the project this year,” Fuentes said.
She said the road network’s scheduled development works for this year has yet to begin but the DPWH central office is already finalizing the bidding and awarding process for the project, she said.
“We’re expecting the project to resume by October,” Fuentes said.
The Lake Sebu-Maitum 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, Regional Development Investment Program and Regional Physical Framework Plan.
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 as twin eco-tourism destinations.
Based on a report from the RDC’s Regional Project Monitoring Committee, about P1.39 billion is needed to complete the Maitum-Lake Sebu road project. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)