SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao:The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has earmarked P199 million for concreting of roads in Basilan as part of peace-building priorities of the autonomous region.
Residents of Basilan who experienced armed conflict in the past this time are expecting full support from the Duterte administration in the near term as the ARMM continues to pour in funds for high-impact projects in the province.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman led the signing of an agreement for the implementation of the Basilan Transcentral Road Phase II projects last Friday in Zamboanga City.
Hataman noted how important infrastructure is for peace, stability and economic development in the region.
The other signatories are Brig. Gen. Arnold Fernandez, brigade commander of the 54th Engineering Brigade; Public Works-ARMM Secretary Don Mustapha Loong; Lt. Col. Arnel Fernandez, commanding officer of the 54th Engineering Construction Battalion of the 54th Engineering Brigade; and Basilan Gov. Jim Hataman-Saliman.
The road project involves 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.
Loong said the roads form part of the Basilan Transcentral Road and 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.
Implementation of Phase I of the Transcentral project is ongoing with a budget of P252 million covering 21 kilometers.
The allocation was sourced from the 2016 regular infrastructure budget of the region.
Loong said the Basilan Transcentral Road project is one of the key connectivity projects of r Hataman in Basilan that will 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.
“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,” he added.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL