P14.7B spent on infra in R-12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 July) — The national government has invested around P14.7 billion in the last three years for the implementation of various priority infrastructure projects in parts of Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region.

Reynaldo Tamayo, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region 12 director, said Monday such funding covered for the construction and development of 1,773 projects that were set under the region’s infrastructure program from 2011 to 2013.

He said these are on top of the 228 projects worth P5.17 billion that were approved by the national government under the region’s 2014 infrastructure program.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Tamayo said the implemented projects comprise major roads, bridges and other structures that were deemed vital for the area’s socio-economic development.

These include components of the P1.135 billion city circumferential road, opening and concreting of tourism roads, the continuing expansion to four lanes of the region’s national highways and primary roads as well as the concreting of the secondary roads, he said.

In 2011, he said they accomplished a total of 245 projects worth P3.87 billion in 2011 and an additional 264 worth P4.35 billion in 2012.

He said they implemented 1,264 more projects worth P6.56 billion last year that were endorsed by the national government under the 2013 infrastructure program.

Tamayo said the 2013 program includes five tourism road projects worth P340.89 million that were endorsed by the national government to help enhance the region’s tourism potentials.

It covered the rehabilitation and concreting of three key access roads leading to emerging ecotourism and adventure sites in Makilala town in North Cotabato and in the municipalities of Glan and Maitum in Sarangani, he said.

Of the total allocation, the official said P33.46 million was drawn from the savings made by the agency through the implementation of competitive and transparent bidding process for the tourism road projects.

As of June 30, Tamayo said they have so far posted an average accomplishment rating of 94.61 percent for the 2011 to 2013 infrastructure programs.

He said such accomplishment rating is considered the highest among the country’s 16 regions and they are currently doubling their efforts to meet the assigned targets or timeline of the implemented projects.

“We’re currently addressing various gaps to fast track the implementation of our projects, specifically conflicts concerning road right-of-ways and other related problems,” Tamayo said.

In 2013, DPWH-12 ranked number one among the country’s 16 regional offices in terms of the physical or actual accomplishment of their annual infrastructure program.

The agency accomplished such feat despite placing only 15th in terms of overall performance in their first semester assessment.

For this year, Tamayo said they’re targeting to maintain their position as the country’s top implementer in terms of infrastructure projects.

For their 2014 infrastructure program, he said they have posted an accomplishment rating of 45.57 percent as of June 30.

He expressed optimism that the agency will be able maintain the top spot in terms of performance and also in “leading Region 12 towards economic success and social justice through infrastructure development.”

The official said they expect to compete during the second half the ongoing paving of national primary roads within the region.

In terms of secondary roads, he said they have so far accomplished 65 percent of their targets and on track towards their completion by 2016.

“A number road openings and development of tourism roads are currently in the pipeline and scheduled for completion before President Benigno S. Aquino III will end his term in 2016,” Tamayo said. (MindaNews)