Sulu has two new seaports built to spur economic growth PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 June 2014 13:05

The isolated island province of Sulu now has two more seaports constructed to hasten on-going government normalization efforts in local hotbeds of Islamic militancy through massive socio-economic and political interventions.

The two facilities, the P15 million-worth Tuyang seaport in Talipao, and the fully rehabilitated seaport in Panglima Tahil, rebuilt from a P10 million allocation, were funded out of the 2012 and 2013 infrastructure funds of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), respectively.

Sulu, a component province of ARMM, is a stronghold of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and where the dreaded Abu Sayyaf, which is fighting for a puritan Islamic state, notorious for beheading of captives, has been harboring kidnap victims snatched from outside of the island.

The MNLF signed a final deal with government on September 2, 1996, but one of its three factions, the one led by the fiery Nur Misuari, who was born and raised in Sulu, had turned around and is now hostile due to misunderstandings on the implementation of certain sensitive provisions of the now 27-year accord, brokered by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim countries, including petroleum-exporting states in the Middle East and North Africa.

The two newly-constructed seaports have recently been opened to public use following symbolic inaugural rites attended by local officials and engineers from the ARMM’s Department of Public Works and Highways.

Records obtained from the office in Cotabato City of the ARMM’s public works secretary, Engineer Hadji Emil Sadain, indicated that the two seaports now effectively connects the local communities in the seaside towns of Talipao and Panglima Tahil to trading centers in the center of the province and surrounding island towns.

Sadain said the seaport projects were carried out with utmost transparency, in keeping with a directive from ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman to keep all programs of work and budgetary details open to scrutiny by media and the local civil society organizations.

Sadain said he and his deputy, Engineer Don Loong, the region’s assistant public works secretary, are grateful of the support extended by the provincial government of Sulu, and the local officials in Talipao and Panglima Tahil to the implementation of the seaport projects.

Sadain and Loong, also both ethnic Tausogs from Sulu, had also recently opened to traffic, along with local officials, a newly concreted road in Tuyang District in Talipao, which cuts through farming enclaves near the newly-built seaport.

The ARMM government spent P10 million for the Tuyang road concreting, according to Loong. The DPWH-ARMM has also been upgrading another thoroughfare in Buntad area, also in Talipao, with a P10 million budget allocation, he said.

The DPWH-ARMM also has two on-going water system projects in the province, the multi-million Tumantangis, and Sagay-Sagay water supply facilities in the periphery of Jolo, the capital town of Sulu, both designed to provide villagers with safe drinking water.

The Tumantangis wayer system, costing P40 million, will be comprised of two large, 1,000-cubic meter catchment facilities and supply ducts. The DPWH-ARMM has earmarked P30 million for the Sagay-Sagay water system from the region’s 2014 infrastructure subsidy from the national government.

Sadain said their projects in Sulu complements the Southern Mindanao peace process of President Benigno Aquino III, which aims to provide socio-economic empowerment to local Moro communities to hasten the restoration of normalcy in areas beset by nagging, decades-old peace and security issues.