P60-B funding set aside for Mindanao infra projects

MINDANAO will get about P60 billion for the completion of key infrastructure projects including enhancing connectivity with the rest of the world, a top official of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.

MinDA Secretary Datu Abul Khayr D. Alonto said his agency has partnered with the Department of Public Works and Highways for the setting aside of P17 billion for the establishment of different projects like interregional roads, bridges and flood control projects.

The initial funding will be augment with an additional budget of P43 billion to complete the projects, he said.

“We currently still lack 600 kilometers of roads,” Alonto said, adding that they hoped to hasten the completion in four years.

The MinDA and DPWH signed a memorandum of cooperation for the prioritization of the projects in Nov. last year. The deal is support to MinDA’s Mindanao Development Corridors program, which aimed to improve connectivity and make the island a competitive player.

Apart from sealing a deal with DPWH, MinDA also signed in Nov. last year a memorandum of agreement with Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority to institutionalize their joint planning and programming mechanism for the identification, proposal development and funding of ecotourism projects in Mindanao.

“These joint collaborations hold greater value in fact, more than just securing budgetary support, these agreements cultivate institutional partnerships. Partnerships such as these are crucial in propelling Mindanao rise to socioeconomic progress,” Alonto said earlier during the signing of those agreements with different agencies.

As the present administration is bent on boosting the connectivity in the island, Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Ma. Catalina E. Cabral said the national government has increased the budget for Mindanao by about 38% higher this year.

“Ensuring a funding support is not anymore a problem. The problem now is how to properly spend the funds,” Cabral said. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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