THE Aquino government will have poured at least P100 billion worth of infrastructure projects in the vote-rich region of Mindanao by 2016 as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is determined to finish an ambitious project that will connect the entire region.
This was disclosed on Wednesday by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson who briefed President Benigno Aquino 3rd and other government and private sector officials on the status of ongoing projects in the province of Misamis Occidental, which will benefit from the Mindanao Logistics Network Program (MLNP) that was broached in recent years.
“I’d like to mention that we have a very important ongoing project at DPWH which we call the connectivity of the entire Mindanao. Our program, the (MNLP) aims to connect Region 9 to Region 10 up to (Region) 13, and vice versa through the Bukidnon area,” Singson explained.
“So, you will see new and many constructions in Region 10 precisely so that the rest—the whole of Mindanao will become a lot more accessible for air travel, for people and commodities. This is a major program of President Aquino where funds are continuously being poured into,” he added.
The MNLP is a hundred-billion-peso infrastructure project that seeks to improve road linkages to key ports and other economically viable areas in Mindanao, including those covered by the proposed Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao under the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
For this year, some 30 percent, or more than P60 billion of the entire DPWH budget, will go to the region.
Under the MNLP, P16.2 billion was released from 2011-2014 for the construction of 410 kilometers or 16 road networks of local and national roads in Mindanao. However, an additional P106 billion will still be needed for the construction or improvement of 2,405 kms or the 24 priority road networks there.
Aquino said in his speech after the briefing that since 2011, P7.24 billion has been allotted for Misamis Occidental.
“Ngayon nga pong nasa huling bahagi na tayo ng ating panunungkulan, balak pa nating paspasin ang paghahatid ng kalinga at suporta hindi lang sa inyong bayan, kundi maging sa kalakhang Mindanao at sa buong bansa. Ang pangarap po kasi natin: Makitang umuunlad ang buong Mindanao para masagad ninyo ang potensiyal bilang ‘Land of Promises Fulfilled’ (Now that I am at the tailend of my term, we plan to speed up the delivery of services and support to the whole of Mindanao. Because our dream is to see a progressive Mindanao so that you can reach your potential as ‘Land of Promisses fulfilled) the president said.
Aquino was in Misamis Occidental for the first stop of his two-day visit to Mindanao and the Visayas. He flew to Davao City on Wednesday and will fly to Cebu on Thursday.
According to Singson, the province has 235 kilometers of national road and they plan to have all these cemented and paved by 2016 as Aquino promised.
“We are sticking to that commitment, by 2016, all of our national—primary and secondary—roads will be paved,” stressed the Public Works chief.
By the end of 2016, the government shall have poured in about P10 billion for the entire province alone.
“Since 2011 to 2015, our infrastructure investment in the whole province [DWPH lang po ito, hindi po kasama ‘yung ibang agencies] has already reached 5.16 billion [… Ang good news po riyan, nitong 2016, assuming that our budget is approved, itinaas pa ho namin ‘yan for 2016 to 2.7 billion in one year, in 2016,”] added Singson.