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Four major infra projects in the pipeline for Mindanao

/ 04:50 PM February 27, 2018

Four big-ticket infrastructure projects, including a railway, worth at least P124.4 billion will be rolled out in Mindanao to bolster economic activity in the region, according to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.

Among the flagship projects for Mindanao cited by Dominguez in a press statement on Tuesday were the P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase 2 in North Cotabato and Maguindanao, which is expected to be completed this year and service almost 10,000 hectares of land in 56 conflict-stricken areas; and the P98-billion Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network Project, which aims to improve some 2,500 kilometers of farm-to-market roads across Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen and Caraga regions.

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The other two projects are the P21-billion Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project, which seeks to build and improve a 276-km road network traversing Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay provinces; and the much-anticipated Mindanao Railway Project, which according to the “Build, Build, Build” website is now building the 105-km Tagum-Davao City-Digos segment to connect major cities and economic zones in the area for faster transportation of people, goods and services.

These important public investments for Mindanao, said Dominguez, would fast-track development in the region as spending on infrastructure has the “best multiplier effect” on the economy.

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“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 said.

“So today is the time for Mindanao,” he added.

Aside from the four mega-projects cited, the government has also earmarked P23 billion for road construction and improvement in Zamboanga Peninsula for this year, which translates to 754 road projects to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Part of this allocation will be used for projects in Zamboanga City alone, amounting to P1.6 billion, and includes the 36-km Bypass Road Project slated to be finished this year.

Once completed, the project will facilitate the transport of products and services from the different municipalities and cities in the peninsula, including Dipolog and Pagadian, to the Zamboanga Freeport Zone in Labuan, Zamboanga City. The bypass project also aims to cut travel time from east to west of Zamboanga City and vice versa from one hour to 30 minutes.

Dominguez said funding for these big projects would be partly supported by revenue generated from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, the first package under the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program.

“Thanks to the support of our taxpayers, we are now ready to implement some of the strategic infrastructure projects that will benefit Mindanao’s economy. These projects will link the outlying communities to the mainstream of national wealth creation,” Dominguez said.

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On top of leading the government’s efforts in infrastructure spending, the DOF is also at the forefront in helping fund the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the heavily devastated Marawi City through the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan that is now in its final stages of formulation.

“We want to assure all the people of Mindanao that the Department of Finance is 100 percent behind the rehabilitation of Marawi,” Dominguez said.

“While we are busy financing and launching new infrastructure, let me assure you we have not forgotten communities ruined by war and calamity,” he added.  /muf

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