GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 October) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 is seeking for the immediate funding and implementation by the national government of 122 “strategic” road projects worth P3.2 billion within the region.
Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, RDC-12 chairperson, said the proposed projects comprise road arteries and networks within the region’s four provinces and five cities that that were mainly considered strategic to the area’s economic development.
“Included in the list are roads that link to primary tourist destinations and key agricultural areas in the region. The opening of these critical road networks will help accelerate agri-industrial production and trading in the rural areas,” she said.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Custodio said the council, which held a road summit here earlier this month, endorsed the proposed projects to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) central office.
The RDC launched the road summit to come up with a list of road projects or networks that would be viable for development or conversion into national roads and address related concerns.
Based on the RDC-12’s proposal, the mayor said the road projects were set for implementation starting next year and until 2018.
She said the council will include the projects in the updated development investment program of the region and of local government units.
According to the website of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), it has completed 55 roads, bridges and related infrastructure projects as of last August 31.
It said 46 more projects are presently undergoing construction, either by DPWH district engineering offices or by private construction companies, while eight others have not yet started.
Among the ongoing major road projects in the region are the P1.1-billion General Santos City circumferential road; P1.39-billion Maitum-Lake Sebu road in Sarangani and South Cotabato;, P3-billion Kalamansig-Palimbang-Maitum road in Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani; and the P920-million Banisilan-Guiling-Alamada road in North Cotabato.
Custodio said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson signified to look into the proposed projects, which he initially considered “doable.”
Singson asked the RDC-12 to prepare the specific details of the projects as well as their estimated costs to allow the DPWH to properly act on them, she said.
Custodio said Singson noted that the proposed road projects should be targeted for completion by 2016 or before the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III ends.
She added that the DPWH official vowed to help local government units in the region in settling pending road right of way problems in their areas. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)