GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/1 December)– The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has issued the go-signal for the resumption before yearend of the development works for the unfinished sections of the 75-kilometer Lake Sebu-Maitum road network in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani.
South Cotabato (2nd District) Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said on Friday she was informed by DPWH officials that the ground works for the P175 million South Cotabato section of the road project will finally begin within the next few weeks, after several months of delay due to problems with the bidding process.
“The contract for the project was already awarded and hopefully, the implementation phase will start this December,” she said.
Fuentes said the project was supposed to begin earlier this year but the bidding process facilitated by DPWH central office was delayed due to problems with some of the bidders.
The official said the DPWH is currently fast-tracking the bidding and awarding of an additional P150 million contract for the project that was scheduled for implementation in 2013.
She said the agency is working for the awarding of the contract before the start of the election ban in February for the approval of contracts for infrastructure projects.
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, which would mainly connect the municipalities of Maitum in Sarangani and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.
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, 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)