P1-billion Basilan road project to cut travel by 12 hours

John Unson (Philstar.com) - January 31, 2016 - 11:04pm

LAMITAN CITY, Philippines – Residents of Basilan now look forward to the completion of a transcentral road that would connect the four corners of the island province through arterial networks in its forested mainland, officials said Monday.

The highway would cut through hinterlands in the Ponoh Mahadje area, where the dreaded Abu Sayyaf established its first ever, but now abandoned camp, in 1994.

People in Basilan, a component province of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), now boast of their newly concreted circumferential orbit road, a joint project of Malacañang and the region’s chief executive, Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

The circumferential road shortened by about 12 hours the time for an overland orbit in the province, passing through several towns, including the cities of Lamitan and Isabela.

The transcentral road project, now being implemented, has two phases, with a total budget of P1.058 billion.

“We ought to thank the Hataman administration and engineers Don Loong and Soler Undug for this colossal project now initially taking shape,” Lamitan City’s vice-mayor, Roderic Furigay, said on Thursday.

Loong is Hataman’s regional public works secretary while Undug oversees all infrastructure projects in Basilan as chief of the District Engineering Office (DEO) in the province.

Undug said the first phase of the transcentral road project, 21 kilometers at P252 million, will traverse Lamitan City, Santa Clara, Bohe Nange and Kapatagan areas.

The second phase of the project, which will interconnect the Maluso, Lower Mahayahay, Upper Mahayahay, Masola and Isabela City areas, will cover 34.30 kilometers, costing P806.05 million.

The arterial network will also include five bridges costing P195 million.

“We are confident of the completion of this project as programmed owing to the good management of projects in the province by the DEO and the DPWH-ARMM,” said Basilan Assemblyman Haber Asarul, a member of ARMM’s 254-seat Regional Assembly.

Asarul, Furigay and other local officials accompanied Undug and Loong in their inspection of infrastructure projects in Basilan early this week.

“We are contented with how the DPWH-ARMM and the Basilan DEO are co-managing these projects,” Furigay said.

The executive department of ARMM has also earmarked the construction this year of P200 million worth of water supply facilities in Basilan.

The ARMM has allocated, since 2013, a total of P9.3 billion worth of infrastructure funds for Basilan.

A big chunk of the amount was spent for road projects interconnecting barangays, town centers and public markets, which are needed to hasten the economic growth of the local peasant and fishery sectors. 

ABU SAYYAF ACIRC AUTONOMOUS REGION BASILAN BASILAN ASSEMBLYMAN HABER ASARUL BOHE NANGE AND KAPATAGAN DISTRICT ENGINEERING OFFICE DON LOONG AND SOLER UNDUG FURIGAY HATAMAN LAMITAN CITY
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