Peace and prosperity returning to Basilan
() - October 8, 2005 - 12:00am
With peace and prosperity returning to Basilan, the area is now poised to become one of the richest provinces in the country, Gov. Wahab Akbar said yesterday.

In an interview, Akbar said the island province’s 140-kilometer circumferential road that is planned to connect the capital city of Isabela and six municipalities would be completed once the Saudi Arabian government releases $20 million in assistance for the project.

The provincial government and the Mindanao Economic Development Council are just awaiting the final approval and signing of a memorandum of agreement between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia for the completion of the circumferential road.

The road is about 50 percent finished. When completed it would connect the towns of Lamitan, Lantawan, Maluso, Sumisip, Tipo-Tipo, Tuburan and Isabela City.

Akbar added that one of the factors that will drive Basilan’s future prosperity is the planned planting of some 30 million rubber trees in the island by 2007. This, he said, would make Basilan the "rubber province of the Philippines."

"In seven to eight years, our province would be one of the richest in the Philippines. Just 10 million rubber trees can generate P30 million a day or P900 million a month," Akbar told The STAR.

The project was started a few years ago when he saw the benefits of developing the rubber industry there.

Rubber is in great demand in Metro Manila and other parts of the country and in the region as well.

Akbar said sturdy rubber trees would also be very helpful in protecting the environment as plantations could act as watersheds and prevent soil erosion. Paolo Romero

AKBAR BASILAN ISABELA LAMITAN METRO MANILA MINDANAO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL PAOLO ROMERO PHILIPPINES AND SAUDI ARABIA SAUDI ARABIAN TUBURAN AND ISABELA CITY WAHAB AKBAR
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