Remaining fund for P1-B road project in GenSan due next year

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The city government is expecting the full release early next year of the remaining P300 million funding for the completion of the P1 billion city circumferential road project.

City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio said the local government recently received a notice from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that it has already programmed the release of the required appropriation for the 30-kilometer road project starting the first quarter of 2013.

She said the project’s funding would be sourced from the government’s 2013 national budget and its savings for 2012.

“(DBM) Secretary Butch (Florencio Abad) assured that the remaining funds for the project is already in place,” Custodio said in a press conference.

The mayor said the additional funding would be utilized to complete the project’s remaining component roads, bridges and acquisition of the road right of way.

In the last two years, she said the national government already released around P700 million for the project, which was earlier endorsed by the Regional Development Council of Region 12 as among the region’s priority infrastructure initiatives.

The road network starts from the diversion road along the General Santos-Davao highway in Barangay Katangawan and stretches to the Sinawal road along the General Santos-Isulan highway in Barangay Apopong and the airport road in Barangay Fatima.

The Department of Public Works and Highways already completed the construction of the road network’s component bridge that connects Barangays Fatima and Sinawal and the concreting and upgrading of about a kilometer of the eastern section of the Sinawal road in Barangay Apopong.

Mayor Custodio said the completion of the project will mainly decongest traffic along the city’s major streets and provide a better linkage for the city’s peripheral areas.

A report from the DPWH Region 12 noted that the circumferential road is also expected to bring economic impact through easy facilitation of transporting of goods to and from the seaport, fishport and the city airport.

It will serve as road artery in transporting goods and passengers leading to Sarangani province, Davao del Sur and Davao City, it said.

The Mindanao Development Authority had pushed for the inclusion of the project in the national government’s priority infrastructure investments in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region due to its potential economic benefits.

It said the circumferential road will mainly connect various agribusiness production areas in the city to various markets as well as provide better access and movement for products coming from other parts of the region.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Cotabato and Kidapawan. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)