ARMM earmarks P199 million for Basilan road projects
ZAMBOANGA CITY - The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has earmarked some P199 million for the concreting of roads in Basilan as part of its peace-building priorities in the province, just several nautical miles south of here, Gov. Mujiv Hataman said on Friday.
Gov. Hataman led the signing of the agreement for the implementation of the Basilan Transcentral Road Phase II projectsand he noted how important infrastructure is for peace, stability and economic development in the region.
The other signatories were Brig. Gen. Arnold Fernandez, commander of the 54th Engineering Brigade; Public Works-ARMM Secretary Don Mustapha Loong; Lt. Col. Arnel Fernandez, commander of the 54th Engineering Construction Battalion, and Basilan Governor Jim Hataman-Saliman.
The road projects comprise the concreting of the 3.5-kilometer Sampinit-Masola Road in Isabela City with an allocated budget of P82 million, and the 5-kilometer Sampinit-Punoh-Mahadie Road in Sumisip town with an appropriation of P117 million.
Sec. Loong said the roads are among the first projects being undertaken under Phase II of the Transcentral project. A total of P806.05 million was allocated for Phase II covering 34.3 kilometers. Meanwhile, the implementation of Phase I of the Transcentral project is currently on-going with a budget of P252 million covering 21 kilometers. The allocation was sourced from the 2016 regular infrastructure budget of the region.
Sec. Loong said the Basilan Transcentral Road project is one of the key connectivity projects of Gov. Hataman and is expected to reduce travel time between Sumisip and Isabela City, and between Maluso and Lamitan City. The project connects different towns located at the center of the province to the Basilan Circumferential Road.
“This will allow better logistics and people inter-connectivity in Basilan. It is hoped that upon completion of the Basilan Transcentral Road, there will be peace in Basilan, faster movement of people, cheaper transport costs, more agricultural areas developed and a more competitive Basilan ready for the Asean integration, Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area and the Basilan Economic Zone,” Sec. Loong said.
Residents of Basilan who experienced peace and order problems in the past are expecting full support from the Duterte administration in the near term as the ARMM government continues to pour in funds for high-impact projects in the province. Since 2012, ARMM allocated a total of P7.865 billion for infrastructure projects in the province. For this year, a total of P2.207 billion has been earmarked under the region’s infrastructure program. (Bureau of Public Information)