AusAID asked to continue beleaguered Kibawe road project

Then Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. with Australian Ambassador Rod Smith and Interior and Local Government USec. Austere Panadero in September 2009| Photo courtesy of PIA.gov.ph

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News.Net/24 November) The Provincial Government of Bukidnon has asked the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) not to divert funds of a road project in Kibawe town terminated due to alleged extortion by the New People’s Army, Bukidnon Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. said.

Zubiri, set to meet with AusAID officials Friday in Manila, told provincial board members last week seven barangays will be affected if the Kibawe -junction Sayre Highway (Kibawe) Natulongan road component will not be pushed through.

“They cannot bring out their products…; they cannot commute because the road is impassable,” he said as quoted in minutes of the Nov. 14 regular session.

The project cost would have been P19.14 million for a road rehabilitation covering 3.6 kilometers.

Maria Clarissa E. Rendon, provincial coordinator of the AusAID’s Provincial Roads Management Facility, was quoted as saying in the records of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to have said the project was terminated in February 23, 2012 after the contractor Allado Construction invoked security issues.

She admitted that at least P6 million of the project cost was already released to the contractor before it was terminated for 15 percent mobilization cost and about 20 percent for initial project accomplishment.

Rendon said the Provincial Development Council passed Resolution No. 05 2012 on June 27, 2012 to re-align the remaining fund from the terminated project to a road project in northern Bukidnon.

But Zubiri cited that any amendment in the agreement between the provincial government and AusAID for PRMF needed an approval from the provincial board.

He said that the provincial government will request that the fund will be retained for the Kibawe project.

“We will be the one to implement it.  We will now get a contractor that is not afraid to finish that and is willing to give a few sacks of rice and goods (to the NPA) if it is necessary,” he added.

Bukidnon is among 10 provinces selected to avail of road rehabilitation and maintenance funds under a P3.5 billion package of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

Then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Australian funded provincial road management facility (PRMF) project on July 21, 2009 held at junction Damay, Impasug-ong.

Bukidnon has proposed about 161 kilometers of provincial roads to the project.

A press statement released during the launch said the road project is under the Southern Philippines Provincial Road Maintenance Program (SPPRMP) that covers 10 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao funded with  Aus$100 (P3.5 billion) by Australia through  AusAID.

The program provides P50 million each year to every beneficiary province for construction and repair of provincial roads over a five year period.

The following were the 10 projects proposed by the Provincial Engineer’s Office as its priority road projects:

Impasug-ong – junction Sayre highway (Damay) Guilang-guilang-Kalampagan-Kalabugao road (39.060 km.);  Kibawe -junction Sayre Highway (Kibawe)Natulongan road (12.150km.); Sumilao – junction Sayre Highway,  Kisolon-Puntian road (13.350 km.); Kadingilan – junction Poblacion-Cabadiangan-Matampay road (17.635km.); Talakag – junction Talakag-San Antonio-Dagundalahon road (14.250km.); Quezon – Salawagan-Linabo road (9.450km.); Don Carlos – junction Conception-Nongnongan-Pualas-Kasigkot-Imbayao-Buyot-Puealas road (20.70 km.); Cabanglasan – junction (Paradise-Tugop) Jasaan-Sta. Rita-Sinanglanan road (11.600km.) Maramag – junction Sayre Highway-Kuya-Gagumbaan road (5.650); and Valencia City – junction Sayre Highway (Bagontaas)-Lurogan-Lilingayon road (16.950km.)
The PRMF is on its fourth of its five years in the province. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)