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Road network takes shape in Mindanao

The remote eastern coastline of Mindanao would soon become a major transportation route connecting the once sleepy and disaster-battered but resource-rich coastal towns of Manay in southernmost Davao Oriental and Claver in northernmost Surigao del Norte.

The different sections of the eastern Mindanao road network were in various stages of work, with the southernmost section, the Mati-Manay towns of Davao Oriental, already completed last year.

The southernmost section of the seven-section road network covers 66.85 kilometers, and where the government spent P984 million to build. This was the first of the sections constructed in October 2004 and finished last September.

The other six sections were started in 2007.

The adjacent section, the Boston-Manay section in northern Davao Oriental, is 52.54-percent complete and is the most expensive to construct, covering 83.89 kilometers.

The section was one of three sections that breached P1 billion in construction cost. The other sections were the Bislig-Boston section (P1.092 billion, covering 72.39 kilometers) and the Marihatag-Hinatuan-Bislig section (P1.175 billion, covering 89.06 kilometers).

The Bislig, Surigao del Sur-Boston, Davao Oriental, section was 61.1-percent complete, and the next adjacent section, from Bislig through Hinatuan to Marihatag, all in Surigao del Sur, was reported at 51.16-percent complete with a total of 69.06 kilometers.

The Cortes-Tandag-Marihatag section, also of Surigao del Sur, was 31.22-percent complete compared with its entire length of 75 kilometers.

The Adlay-Bon-ot section of Surigao del Norte was bidded out in June last year and the contractor was still awaiting the release of funds to start construction. The project cost was placed at P200 million.

The last section, the 40-kilometer Bacuag-Claver section, was already 60.42-percent complete.

The Davao Oriental-Surigao coastal strip has been one of the neglected areas in Mindanao, although the two regions where they belong performed fairly well in exports.

The Davao-Surigao coastal-road project is one of the major road-network projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, which has an increased budget this year of P23.676 billion.

The budget outlay for the project has little component from foreign funding, accounting for only 6.7 percent of the outlay, or about P1.587 billion. The bulk, or P22.089 billion (93.3 percent) of are locally funded.

The budget outlay was higher that last year’s P15.203 billion, with 12.6 percent (P1.913 billion) of the projects being foreign-funded.

In this year’s total budget outlay of the department for the region, 87 percent, or P20.714 billion, was allotted to roads and bridges, as well as ongoing projects in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Central Mindanao. Part of the money was intended to support peace and development efforts in areas plagued by armed conflict.

The completed and ongoing major road-network projects in the regions were the Zamboanga City road project, Buug-Kabansalan section of the Zamboanga City-Pagadian City road network and the Barcelona-Katipunan Road project of Zamboanga del Norte for the Zamboanga Peninsula; the Pinamaloy-Damulog section of the Maramag-Kibawe (all in Bukidnon)-Kabacan (North Cotabato) road network, the Malalag-Malita road project in Davao del Sur, Surigao-Agusan-Davao road network, and the Bukidnon-Davao road project, all in Southern Mindanao.

Also, part of the inventory of road-network projects are the Alegria-Santiago and the Bayugan-Awa-San Francisco sections of the Surigao-Agusan-Davao road network and the second Magsaysay Bridge and Butuan City bypass road in the Caraga Region; and the Oroquieta City-Sindangan section and the Calamba-Barcelona sections of the Zamboanga del Norte road network in Western Mindanao.

Those road networks are major transportation routes in Mindanao, and complement the proposed Mindanao railway project being studied by government planners. (Business Mirror)

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