By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – A total of P19,388,180 billion in infrastructure projects have been recommended to be implemented in identified locations in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region for 2020, public works and highways officials said.
Caraga region is comprised of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur and the Province of Dinagat islands (PDI) and the cities of Surigao, Tandag, Bislig, Bayugan, Cabadbran and the region’s frontier and capital city of Butuan.
Of the recommended budget, a total of 624 infrastructure projects, with 17 bridges and 203.78 kilometers roads will be up for groundworks this year, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Director Engr. Pol M. Delos Santos said.
“Some of the road projects are geared towards different tourism sites in the region,” said the region’s top DPWH 13 official, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin on Friday.
“DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar is eager to fast-track all these projects seeing that most of the 2020 projects are considered high impact that will help spur the development of Caraga Region particularly in the provinces, where President Duterte wanted to develop,” stressed Delos Santos.
By not mentioning the total recommended budget of the DPWH District Engineering Offices (DEOs), Agusan del Sur 2nd DEO gets the biggest share, then followed by Surigao del Norte 2nd DEO and 3rd is Agusan del Norte DEO.
Aside from the new 2020 projects, some of the DEOs of the DPWH 13 will be also pushing for the completion of big-ticket projects that will connect Caraga region to the areas in Northern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao regions.
Among these economic flagship projects of the Duterte Administration closely supervised and monitored by Villar include the East-West Lateral Road that will connect the province of Agusan del Sur to Bukidnon, and the Buenavista -Lawan Lawan-Boundary Bukidnon Road.
At least P1.1 billion Agusan-Malaybalay Road that started in 2015 and set to be completed this year is 77.62 percent complete as of December 31 last year while the P1.9 billion Buenavista-Lawan Lawan Road is 79.01 percent complete as of the same period.
Aside from connecting Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga) to Northern Mindanao (Region 10), the DPWH 13 top official said the two road networks will also promote biodiversity in the Northern Mindanao Corridor and boost eco-tourism, agriculture, industry, and domestic trade.
“Every head official on the ground are targeting its timeline of completion with good quality works, and we hope that bad weather condition will not hamper in our ongoing ground works of all economic roads in the region,” Delos Santos added.