A significant increase in the fund- ing allocation for infrastructure in Zamboanga Peninsula has led to an additional 1,817 kilometers of roads built in the region since 2016, the Depart- ment of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.
According to the department, Region IX received a 257 percent increase in funding allocation from 2016 to 2020.
“The growth in public spending on infrastructure projects generated 13,557 jobs in the Zamboanga Peninsula,” DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said.
Aside from roads, 269 bridges were also constructed, widened, rehabilitated, replaced and retrofitted within the region.
Construction of more roads and bridges continues in this part of the Philippines.
The 79.346-kilometer Sin- dangan-Bayog-Lakewood Road that connects the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zam- boanga del Sur is a work in prog- ress. Once completed, the road, which will serve as a major link between the two provinces, will reduce travel time from six hours to only two hours.
Another ongoing project is the 68.295-kilometer Siocon-Sir- awai-Sibuco-Limpapa Road that connects three municipalities in Zamboanga del Norte to Zam- boanga City. It is a P3.34-billion project that is set for completion by 2022. It will reduce travel time from five hours to 1 hour and 30 minutes between Siocon and Zamboanga City once completed.
The 17.22-kilometer Zam- boanga City Diversion Road that stretches from Barangay Cabal- uay to Barangay Sta. Catalina is also underway. It will serve as an alternate road to Pagadian City to Zamboanga City and as an ac- cess road leading to the proposed construction of the new Zam- boanga International Airport in Barangay Mercedes. Once com- pleted, it will reduce travel time from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 20 minutes, benefiting 8,277 travel- ers per day.
Another project under con- struction is the 19.242-kilometer Buenavista–Bolong Coastal Road which will serve as an alternate road for Pagadian City – Zam- boanga City Road. It is expected to cut travel time from 1 hour to 15 minutes.
Construction of the Kaliantana Bridge Phase III is also in prog- ress. It will connect Barangay Baluno to the small island baran- gay of Kaliantana in Naga, Zam- boanga Sibugay. Once completed, this will provide the community a means of transportation from the island to the mainland aside from the usual boat ride. This will also allow 5,000 residents to easily access mainland Naga in transporting goods and local products.
Meanwhile, 289 flood control structures have also been com- pleted in the region. These disaster-resilient structures built in calamity prone areas like the 730.50-linear meter revetment along Kabasalan River in Cana- can, Zamboanga Sibugay aims to prevent huge agricultural losses and protect nearby communities from floods.
A total of 7,308 classrooms and 85 workshop buildings were also constructed in the region over the past years.
In terms of response against the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the DPWH, which is tasked to build isolation facilities around the country, was able to turn over 12 completed units of COVID-19 facilities with 467 bed capacity in the region.
The Pasonanca Convention Center was converted into a mega quarantine facility with 188 bed capacity. It was recently turned over to the local government unit.
Three more quarantine facilities are under way in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, Barangay Bolatok, Pagadian and an off-site dormitory in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.