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AusAID names 7 provinces to get road improvements

The Australian government has identified seven areas in the country that will initially benefit from the P3.8-billion road development project in the Visayas and Mindanao.

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) said the first seven provinces that will benefit under the Provincial Road Management Facility project are Bohol and Guimaras in the Visayas and Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, and Surigao del Norte in Mindanao.

Three other provinces are still being determined and will be announced next year, the AusAID said.

The P3.8-billion financial aid for road infrastructure development in the Visayas and Mindanao, which is a five-year project, is part of the P4.6-billion or approximately A$123 million aid for the country from 2009 to 2010.

Through the said facility, Australia will help manage and maintain more than 1,000 kilometers of provincial roads in up to 10 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao. “Infrastructure drives development and improves the livelihood of all citizens. The Provincial Road Management Facility will promote development and economic growth by strengthening governance and improving the quality of provincial roads in the southern Philippines,” Australian Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Stephen Scott said.

“In Bukidnon, the facility will provide approximately P35 million in the project’s first year to rehabilitate up to 51 kms of roads that will connect interior and upland communities to the national highway,” he added.

The project is expected to create more jobs and improve market access among neighboring areas, especially in the transport of palm oil, rubber, pineapple, rice, corn, abaca, and coconut.

“Good roads will also provide the indigenous communities in Bukidnon, such as the Manobo and the Higaonon, with greater access to livelihood opportunities, schools, health and other social services,” Scott said.

Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and one of the country’s three largest bilateral grant aid donors. (Manila Bulletin)

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