At least four flagship infrastructure projects costing more than P124 billion will help jumpstart economic development in Mindanao, the Finance department said on Tuesday.
The island is now in the “front and center” of an infrastructure buildup, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said in a statement, with several big-ticket projects to be either rolled out or completed this year to link outlying communities to the urban mainstream.
“For many years, the people of Mindanao complained of neglect by imperial Manila … The many decades of neglect will end now. This island of great promise will be in the front and center of the massive infrastructure program being rolled out by the Duterte administration,” Dominguez was quoted as saying during the 81st Dia de la Ciudad de Zamboanga celebration.
One of the projects designed to jumpstart economic development is the P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase 2 in North Cotabato and Maguindanao, which will irrigate almost 10,000 hectares of land in 56 conflict-affected areas. It is targeted for completion this year.
Another is the P98-billion Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network, which involves the construction or improvement of 2,500 kilometers of roads across the Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen and Caraga regions to link farms to markets. The project has been ongoing since 2015 and is targeted for completion in 2019.
Third is the P21-billion Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project covering the construction and improvement of a 276-kilometer network of roads spanning the Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay provinces. The project will commence this year and is expected to be completed by
Last is the Mindanao Railway Project, which Dominguez said “will soon become a reality”.
The finance chief said his department would also support a proposal to transfer the current Zamboanga City airport to a more viable location.
For the Zamboanga Peninsula alone, he said the government had allocated P23 billion this year for 754 road construction and improvement projects.
Of these projects, 102 will be for Zamboanga City, including a 36-kilometer bypass road targeted for completion this year.