Road project in Caraga ‘red zones’ gets community support
By Alexander Lopez / Philippine News Agency
BUTUAN CITY – A multi-billion road project by the Department of Public Works and Highways in Caraga Region (DPWH-13) that traverses the areas affected by New People’s Army (NPA) presence has gained support from residents, who help protect the equipment and workers of contractors.
Concepcion R. Calo, DPWH-13 spokesperson, told the Philippine News Agency Thursday that the PHP3.650-billion East-West Lateral Road Project in the region remains unhampered because of overwhelming community support.
“This is among the big infrastructure projects here in Caraga Region that will connect the provinces of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur that was started in 2015,” Calo said.
The project will connect provinces and towns in the region to the province of Bukidnon in Region 10.
Calo said as of this month, the project is already 72.9 percent completed.
“The residents, especially the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in communities where this road traverses, have coordinated with the Philippine Army and helped safeguard the workers and the equipment of our contractors,” Calo said.
Most of the barangays that will benefit from the project are those considered conflict-affected due to the presence of the NPA insurgents and classified as geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the towns of San Miguel in Surigao del Sur and in Bayugan City in Agusan del Sur.
“The project will build peace and prosperity to one of Caraga Region’s red zones,” DPWH-13 Director Pol M. Delos Santos said in a statement Thursday.
Delos Santos said the project will also open agricultural tourism especially in the vast fertile mountains of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur, adding that residents in said areas, especially the farmers, will save travel time and costs of transportation on their farm products and produce.
Of the total project cost, around PHP2.874 billion have already been released since 2015 that represented the total accomplishment of the project as of this month.
The accomplishments include the 31.9-kilometer (km.) road opening and the 18.5-km. road upgrading and concreting works.
Ongoing works being implemented this year as part of the funds released last year that include the 4.60 km. road opening and the 3.58 km. road upgrading and concreting, the agency said.
A permanent bridge with a span of 35.80 linear meters was already completed as part of the project, DPWH-13 added.
For this year, additional funding of PHP239 million was already released for the continuation construction works that will include the 1.00-km. road opening and the 4.55-km. road upgrading and concreting.
“There are also portions of the road network that were affected by the recent typhoons that hit our region. There are repair works being done due to erosions and flooding,” Calo said.
She said the construction works set for next year will include the 5.736-km road opening, the 14.05-km road upgrading and concreting, and the construction of a 175 linear meter permanent bridge. (PNA)