P1.5 billion released for road projects in SouthCot

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 Dec) – The national government has approved the release of around P1.5 billion for the development next year of two major road networks in South Cotabato province.

South Cotabato second district Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has adopted upgrading of the Lake Sebu-Maitum road and the construction of the Surallah-T’boli-San Jose road as among its top priorities for 2016.

He said the agency has allotted around P800 million for the reconstruction of the Lake Sebu-Maitum road to all weather standards.

Another P700 million has been set aside for the construction of the Surallah-T’boli-San Jose road, he said.

“These projects are already in the pipeline for 2016 and we expect their preparatory works to begin soon,” Hernandez said at an alumni gathering of a public high school in Koronadal City on Sunday night.

Hernandez said Surallah-T’boli-San Jose road will connect the municipalities of Surallah and T’boli in South Cotabato and Barangay San Jose in this city.

He said it will serve as an alternative route to the city airport in Barangay Tambler, the city fish port complex in Barangay Calumpang and other strategic areas in this city and nearby Sarangani Province.

The 75-kilometer Lake Sebu-Maitum road network connects the municipalities of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato and Maitum in Sarangani.

The P1.39-billion road project was earlier endorsed by the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 as among the region’s priority development initiatives.

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 ecotourism destinations of Region 12, the council said the road project will eventually make the two areas as twin eco-tourism destinations.

“We’re continually lobbying for the approval and release of additional funding for several other major road projects, including the Norala-Banga road,” Hernandez said.

In the last three years, the official said the government has poured in around P5-billion worth of infrastructure projects in South Cotabato’s second congressional district.

He said these projects, which his office helped lobby for approval, included road construction, upgrading and widening; construction of barangay or community gymnasiums and related facilities; and the construction of school buildings.