Basilan ARMM infra projects seen to spur island’s economic growth PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 August 2016 11:59

There are six on-going major government infrastructure projects in Lamitan City local officials are certain will weaken the Abu Sayyaf which capitalizes on poverty to stoke public hatred on government.

The incumbent vice-mayor of Lamitan City, Roderick Furigay, said foremost of these six current projects are the P1 billion “transcentral road,” to connect Barangay Sta. Clara to Sumisip town in southwest of Basilan, and the expansion of the Lamitan City port.

The overland arterial project, also dubbed “peace road,” will cut through Ponoh Mahadjeh, the first ever stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, passing through hinterlands suitable to orchard and rubber tree propagation.

The peace road will also traverse Basilan’s Sampinit Complex, a forested hinterland with eco-tourism potentials.

The P150 million Lamitan wharf expansion project is meant to improve the city’s investment climate, where new businesses have sprouted lately.

The peace road and the port improvement projects are part of the flagship infrastructure thrusts in Basilan of the office of Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The two projects are being managed by Basilan District Engineer Soler Undug and Don Loong, regional secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways-ARMM.

Furigay said the city government of Lamitan is complementing the infrastructure programs in Basilan of the Hataman administration with at least four more projects being bankrolled with local funds and money borrowed from a bank.

The Lamitan City government is presently constructing a gymnasium that can accommodate at least 4,000 people and where Muslim-Christian peace dialogues can be regularly held.

Besides the gymnasium, which is expected to be fully built by yearend, the city government is also constructing a hospital and a two-storey trading center in a commercial area.

The hospital is being built using funds raised by the city government and allocations from the Department of Health-ARMM.

The ARMM’s health department is operating under Hataman’s ministerial control.

“Our gymnasium and hospital, once completed, shall be open even to people residing outside of Lamitan City,” Furigay said.

Furigay said the joint infrastructure programs of the Hataman administration and the city government are aimed at improving the mobility of Christian and Muslim peasant communities and people in seaside fishing enclaves.

“These were designed to improve the productivity of farmers and fishing villages in Lamitan City and neighboring towns,” he said.

Undug, who is overseeing all of the ARMM government’s infrastructure projects in Basilan, said villagers have actively been helping secure workers constructing roads, school buildings and other facilities in far-flung areas.

Undug and Furigay are both convinced the P1 billion-worth peace road will usher in dramatic improvements in the business climates in Lamitan City and nearby towns.

“This road project will spur livelihood and employment opportunities and, in a way, gradually marginalize local security problems caused by poverty and underdevelopment,” Undug said.