10 ‘Build, Build, Build’ projects in CARAGA

BY

Anna Mae Y. Lamentillo

In the second quarter of 2021, Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 11.8 percent, the highest since the fourth quarter of 1988. The biggest contributor to the increase was the construction sector, which is pegged at 25.7 percent. It was followed by manufacturing at 22.3 percent and industry and services at 20.8 percent. In other words, Philippines has ended its recession with the fastest year-on-year growth in 32 years.

In its August 2021 report, International Monetary Fund predicted the recovery to gain momentum with Real GDP Growth expansion of 5.4 percent in 2021 and seven percent in 2022.

IMF agreed that the expansionary fiscal stance strikes an appropriate balance between recovery needs and fiscal prudence and that steady structural reforms as well as a continued public infrastructure push will help rekindle investment and push the Philippines’ return to the pre-pandemic rate of 6.5 percent.

Critics have said that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte should shy away from “Build, Build, Build” if it were to solve the COVID-19 pandemic. I disagree. The government must not choose between health and economy but rather make mutual compromises that would further health, recovery, job security, and long term economic potential.

From the onset, the goal of “Build, Build, Build” is to create a road network that would not only link Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao but also tear down invisible walls that divided us for decades. It meant bringing people together from different regions, provinces, cities and municipalities and rallying them behind the goal of ushering in Philippines’ golden age of infrastructure.

Secretary Mark Villar hoped to create an infrastructure network that would allow Filipinos to hope and dream for a better Philippines.

East West Lateral Road

It was important to remove the roadblocks that hinder us from seeing the beauty of Magpupungko Rock Pools, Hinatuan Enchanted River, Guyam Island, Tinuy-an Falls, Sohoton Cove, Sugba Blue Lagoon, Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Taktak Falls, Lake Bababu, among others.

Since 2016, DPWH has completed 1,434.96 kilometers of roads, 286 bridges, 298 flood control projects, 5,475 classrooms, 138 school workshop buildings, and 13 evacuation centers in CARAGA.

Bukidnon-Agusan-Del-Norte Connector (Buenavista-Lawan-Lawan-Boundary-Bukidnon)

Today, let’s explore 10 “Build, Build, Build” projects in CARAGA, a region composed of five provinces: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao Del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

  1. Agusan del Sur-Bukidnon Connector

The 62-kilometer East West Lateral Road will provide a direct route from Northern Mindanao (Region 10) to CARAGA (Region 13) and connect Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon via the Agusan-Malaybalay Road. The project includes the construction of seven permanent bridges.

2. Agusan del Sur-Surigao del Sur connector

The 40.73-kilometer East West Lateral Road will traverse Surigao-Davao Coastal Road, Junction Gamut in Surigao del Sur, and Daang Maharlika in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur. When completed, it will cut travel time from farms to the nearest market by 1 hour and 20 minutes, reducing the hauling cost of agricultural products. The project will link the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon and Surigao del Sur.

3. Sampaguita-Makilos Road Project

The indigenous people of CARAGA like the Manobos and Mamanwas will have better access to social services when the 163-kilometer Sampaguita Makilos Project is completed. The project will connect the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Agusan Del Norte, and Bukidnon.

4. Bukidnon-Agusan Del Norte Connector

Bukidnon-Agusan Del Norte Connector

The 29-kilometer Bukidnon-Agusan del Norte Connector is now 89.76 percent complete. It is poised to fully open by December 2022. The project is the nearest route to reach Impasug-ong, Bukidnon from Buevanista, Agusan Del Norte. When completed, travel time between the two provinces will be reduced by least two hours from six hours to only three to four hours.

5. Butuan-Pianing-Tandag Road

The existing national road of Butuan-Pianing-Tandang Road in Agusan Del Sur will be extended and upgraded by 15 kilometers to connect to Surigao-Davao Coastal Road from a 40.40-kilometer new road opening at Surigao del Sur. This is part of the Mindanao Road Development Network, which aims to increase inter-provincial and interregional connectivity in Mindanao.

6. Cabadbaran-Putting Bato-Lanuza Road Project

The Cabadbaran-Puting Bato-Lanuza Road project involves the opening and concreting of a 73-kilometer road from Junction Daang Maharlika on Surigao-Agusan Road to Junction Surigao-Davao Coastal Road in Lanuza Surigao del Sur, is now 36.23 percent complete. Two bridges will also be built within the road network.

7. Nasipit-Buenavista-Masao Port Coastal Road

The 25-kilometer road project will provide a direct route from Nasipit International Port and Masao National Port and decongest the busy Butuan City-Cagayan de Oro-Iligan City Road.

8. NRJ Rizal-Togbongon-Mat-I-Mabini-Trinidad Road

The 22-kilometer road project will connect eight barangays of Surigao del Norte, namely: Rizal, Togbongon, San Roque, Poctoy, Serna, Mat-I, Mabini and Anomar and provide an alternate route to Daang Maharlika.

9. Lake Mainit-Tubay River Basin Flood Control Project

The outlet river from Lake Mainit, Philippines’ fourth largest river, is the 30.8-kilometer Kalinawan-Tubay River. The construction of the two-kilometer flood control structure along the river basin was completed to mitigate the flooding problem in the province.

10. Nasipit-Agusan Del Norte

The construction of a 39.81-kilometer access road leading to Nasipit-Agusan Del Norte Industrial Estate Special Economic Zone is now at 92 percent.