Basilan execs grateful for overflowing infra projects in 2015
John Unson (Philstar.com) - December 25, 2015 - 11:29pm

BASILAN, Philippines - Residents of this island province will remember 2015 as the year costly government infrastructure projects sprouted everywhere in a manner never before seen by local Muslim and Christian folks.

Local executives said they ought to thank President Benigno Aquino III and Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for all the projects implemented in Basilan in the past three years.

“The projects doubled in 2015,” said Basilan-born Juni Ilimin, former assistant secretary of ARMM’s local government department.

Basilan has 11 towns, home to ethnic Yakan, Tausug and Samah people and minority non-Muslim Visayan and Chavakano groups. Lamitan City, the capital of Basilan, has 45 barangays.

“More very expensive projects had been programmed to be implemented in 2016,” said Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay of Lamitan City.

Furigay said in Lamitan City alone, the executive department of ARMM poured in no less than P1 billion for infrastructure projects in the past 24 months to boost local economic activities.

Records from the office of ARMM’s public works secretary, engineer Don Mustapha Loong, indicated that mayors in Basilan and district engineer Soler Undug are currently implementing more than P3 billion worth of projects needed to address underdevelopment in the island province.

Employees of the Department of Education in Basilan said what is fascinating for them is the accessibility now of schools to local folks as a result of the construction of roads now interconnecting remote barangays in the province.

Hadja Nuring Jamaldin, assistant division superintendent of Basilan public schools, said there was dramatic rise in enrollment last June in schools along newly-concreted roads straddling through isolated areas in many towns in the province.

“Progress is now felt everywhere in Basilan. We have a fully concreted circumferential road and overland circumnavigation of the province now can be done in less than 12 hours, from a two-day travel time in the past,” Jamaldin said.

Local officials also boast of how the Hataman administration had transformed the barangay unit in Tairan in Lantawan town in Basilan into a one-stop-shop service facet for Muslim and Christian residents.

Barangay Tairan is a beneficiary of ARMM’s Health, Education, Livelihood and Protection Synergy (HELPS) intervention, a special program of Hataman, meant to decentralize delivery of services to the public.

Furigay and the municipal mayor of Tuburan, Dorie Kallahal, said their respective constituents are also grateful to Hataman and Aquino for embarking on a multi-million water system project designed to supply water, from a highland spring in Barangay Arco in Lamitan City, to dozens of villages downstream.

“Our people will soon have supply of safe drinking water in their villages,” Kallahal said.

ACIRC BARANGAY ARCO BARANGAY TAIRAN BASILAN DON MUSTAPHA LOONG DORIE KALLAHAL EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FURIGAY HADJA NURING JAMALDIN LAMITAN CITY MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN
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