P34.3B for Mindanao infra projects proposed

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

MINDANAO stakeholders will most likely feel the improvement of roads, bridges and other hard infrastructures if the proposed additional P34.29-billion budget for the hard projects in 2014 will be approved in Congress.

At the opening of the 22nd Mindanao Business Conference on Thursday at the SMX Convention Center Davao, President Benigno Aquino III said his administration has proposed to the Congress that such amount be given to Department of Public Works Highways (DPWH) as part of its departmental budget for 2014 for the development of hard infrastructures in Mindanao.

In a report, DPWH has a proposed budget of P213.5 billion, possibly the second highest next to that of Department of Education (DepEd) with a proposed budget of P336.9 billion of the P2.268-trillion national budget.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has the third highest of the proposed budget at P135.4 billion.

The President said there's a need to improve the transport infrastructures in Mindanao to allow an easy trade between the farmers and the markets.

"These bountiful harvests will only be useful to the producers and consumers both if products can get to the markets in a timely manner," he said.

The proposed P34.29 billion is on top of the previously approved P61.54-billion budget of DPWH for roads, bridges, and other hard projects in Mindanao only for the period 2011 to 2014.

DPWH has also started construction works on the major roads in Mindanao. For instance, the Lake Lanao Circumferential Road Project, which has been allocated a total of P767-million budget. Its completion will be February 2015.

Aquino added the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap), and Philippine Ports Authorities (PPA) are also working on improving the airports and seaports in Mindanao.

He said these agencies "are in the process of constructing or rehabilitating 15 airports and 46 seaports."

"The goal is to see a Mindanao economy no longer stifled by a lack of proper roads, ports, or airports," he said.

The President added that forecasting centers are now already in process of bidding for its construction. Among the areas wherein those centers will be erected are Cotabato and Tagum Cities to improve the weather forecasting system here.

There will also be an installation of monitoring facilities under the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, or also known as Project Noah, of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The installation of weather stations are but to better gauge the amount of rain at a given period to assess more accurately the risks whenever there's heavy rains.

Trainings on vulnerability assessment, flood early warning systems, and hazard mapping for storm surges and severe wind are also being conducted.

Aquino attended Thursday the opening program of the MinBizCon 2013, which has a theme "One, Global Mindanao: Moving Towards Asean Business Integration.”

The event was attended by key business leaders, including representatives from the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area.

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