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Catanduanes Needs P2.5B to Build Concrete Road - BM

VIRAC, Catanduanes—A long-standing joke here is that if the government had indeed used funds to build roads from pre-martial law days, this island province could have sunk below sea level by now.

Spillway near Summit

But the joke is apparently becoming true as the province’s 11 towns are now enjoying concrete roads as funds for the road network continue to pour.

Gov. Joseph Cua said road concreting of the province’s 317-kilometer-long circumferential road is almost 45-percent complete and that the second phase of the program under a soft-loan contract with the Japanese International Cooperating Agency (Jica) may be realized by next year. The province’s nonconcreted highway roads, however, have been regravelled and are passable.

Cua said the province is hoping the concreting of the national highways would be attended by the national government, saying that in times of disasters such as typhoons, supplies of aids in affected areas are done by boat. This, however, can only be done in good weather.

Catanduanes district engineer Ignacio Odiaman said about 144 kilometers of the national highway have already been concreted and that the Jica-funded project already spent more than P1 billion for its initial 80-plus kilometers-long project which covers the San Andres-Virac-Bato-San Miguel-Viga towns route.

Summit winding road

The project was started in 2003 and completed in 2008. The delay reportedly was caused by poor weather conditions.

A military report blamed the delay on the New People’s Army for attacks on the China Harbor contractor and the burning of its heavy-equipment machinery. The concreting of the circumferential road under Jica was a project of the late Gov. Leandro Verceles.

Odiaman said phase two of the program under Jica covers more than 60 km of road along the towns of Viga, Panganiban, Bagamanoc and Pandan.

He said concreting the circumferential road could be completed in five years if funding continues, adding it would need P2.5 billion more to finish the 317-kilometer road network.

Hamitan water falls.

Odiaman said with the continuing improvement of the province’s road network, the once idle island province which has the highest out-migration in the region is now a destination of foreign tourists.

Newly elected Rep. Cesar Sarmiento said he will ensure that the provincial road network is fully concreted. Catanduanes has the only virgin forest in the region.

The Public Works official said that with the continuing release of funds for the road network, his office is implementing the P356-million fund under the 2009 budget which involves the concreting of roads in five towns, including the completion of two bridges worth P51 million.

Written by Manly Ugalde / Reporter
SUNDAY, 11 JULY 2010 19:21
Source: Business Mirror

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