ARMM assures completion of infra projects before Bangsamoro advent PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 11 July 2015 10:54

Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are confident they can turn over no less than a thousand kilometers of both rehabilitated and newly-built roads to an incoming Bangsamoro government they expect to be established before yearend.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, staunch supporter of the bilateral peace initiatives of Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),  on Friday said he is contented with how the regional public works department and its eight constituent district engineering offices are implementing on-going road projects in far-flung areas in the autonomous region.

The Hataman administration has earmarked a total of P10.083 billion for various projects this year in the ARMM’s five provinces — P3.073 billion for Basilan, P2.4 billion in Sulu, P1.099 for Tawi-Tawi, P2.041 billion for Maguindanao, and P1.452.3 billion for Lanao del Sur.

Hataman said he is optimistic they can fully accomplish their on-going road projects in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi within the year.

More than P3 billion worth of projects are also being implemented presently by the Hataman administration in ARMM’s two other provinces, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao.

Hataman said his optimism was raised by latest reports from his regional public secretary, Don Mustapha Loong, detailing accomplishments and how local government units in the three island provinces are helping push the ARMM’s infrastructure thrusts forward.

Loong inspected this week the ARMM’s infrastructure projects in the Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi (Basulta) area, designed to spur economic growth and generate livelihood opportunities in beneficiary-communities.

Among the projects Loong inspected in Basilan were roads being built to interconnect hostile agricultural and fishing enclaves in Lantawan municipality northeast of the island province.

The ARMM government had poured out P420 million for a 16-kilometer artery straddling through coastal villages in Lantawan.

The ARMM has more than P3 billion worth of current projects in the island province of Basilan alone, according to records obtained from the Commission on Audit and the Department of Budget and Management.

Loong said among the most tangible projects recently accomplished jointly by the ARMM government and local officials in Tawi-Tawi province is a road network that now connects Panglima Sugala town to the trading center in Bongao, the provincial capital.

“It is only this administration that enabled land vehicles to get through these two areas via this road. Local folks had relied only on watercrafts to traverse the sea from one town to the other for so long,” he said.

Panglima Sugala Mayor Rejie Sahali said there have been recent improvements in the local economy, ushered in by the connectivity now between the trading centers in her town and in Bongao.

Sahali, an older sister of Tawi-Tawi’s provincial governor, Nurbert, said she is grateful to the ARMM government for embarking on multi-million projects in Panglima Sugala.

The ARMM’s on-going projects in Panglima Sugala include more than ten kilometers of roads meant to link fishing villages and local markets.

Loong also visited this week remote areas in Sulu to inspect more road projects straddling through barangays frequented by extremists belonging to the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group.

Loong, himself an ethnic Tausug from Sulu, said he is certain the road projects will expedite the socio-economic growth of underdeveloped areas in the province, where extremists roam around to incite local folks to fight the government for the grinding poverty besetting their villages.

Loong and Hataman both said they are confident the present ARMM administration can turn over no less than P5 billion worth of fully accomplished infrastructure projects to incoming leaders of the Bangsamoro government which the MILF and Malacañang aim to jointly establish within the year through an enabling measure, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The BBL, once enacted into law and ratified via a plebiscite in the proposed Bangsamoro core territory, will pave the way for the ARMM’s replacement with an MILF-led Bangsamoro self-governing outfit.

The draft BBL, however, is still pending in the House of Representatives, mired by controversies and questions on its constitutional viability.