A team of consultants from  the Asian Development Bank (ADB)  presented the  highlights of their interim report on ‘Improving National Roads for Inclusive Growth in Mindanao Project’ during the special meeting of Infrastructure Development Committee IX held in Pagadian City on July 21. The team was led by Highway Engineer Kiyoshi Dachiku of PADECO Co., Ltd. and CTI Engineering Co., Ltd., and Dr. Hussein Lidasan of the Transport and Traffic Planners Incorporated.

The Technical Assistance was carried out in coordination with the DPWH which will be the implementing agency of the project. It has two components, namely: the  Project Preparatory Technical Assistance (PPTA), which is a pre-feasibility study for road projects in Zamboanga Peninsula (ZamPen) that are suitable for ADB financing;  and  updating of the previous Strategic Road Transport Master Plan and providing DPWH with a post 2016 action plan.

Meanwhile, based  on  the  PPTA Report, the ongoing road widening of Lanao-Pagadian-Zamboanga City Road stretch was found to be relatively good, but is facing  costly difficulties in  road right of way acquisition and relocation, among others. Thus, the PPTA Report recommends the exclusion of 90 km of road widening in urban and intercity sections. However, the  following roads were proposed for inclusion: (a)  Curuan-Sibuco; (b) Siay-Gapol, Kumalarang-San Miguel; (c) Pagadian-Northern bypass;  and  (d) Vitali-Tagasilay bypass.

The meeting  presided over by Acting Chairperson of Regional Development  Council (RDC)  IX Teresita Socorro C. Ramos also passed Resolution No. IX-09-15 requesting the DPWH Central Office to seek ADB funding for the parcellary survey of the RT Lim-Siocon Road stretch, which is one of the requirements for the said road to be converted from provincial to national road.

Dir. Ramos concluded the meeting by pointing out  that this undertaking has significant implications to the three-year Rolling Infrastructure Program in the national budget as well as to regional connectivity in ZamPen that will push the region closer to its vision of becoming the Southern Agri-fisheries Corridor of the Philippines.

The Technical Assistance will wrap up by September of this year and another team will immediately follow to conduct Detailed Engineering Design of the road network.