Thousand residents of Basilan province stand to benefit from the completion of the 131.18 kilometers Basilan Circumferential Road (BCR) which has been completed just recently.

President Benigno Aquino III, along with other national and local officials, led on Monday, March 21, the inauguration of the network of roads and bridges in Basilan.

President Aquino lauded the efforts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the fulfillment of “Matuwid na Daan” campaign.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo kay Gov. Mujiv Hataman ng ARMM sa kanyang mabuting pamamahala, natukoy at natugunan ang pangangailangan hindi lang ng Basilan kundi ng ARMM,” President Aquino said.

The BCR in Isabela City, Basilan’s capital, and passes through Lamitan City, and in the towns of Al-Barka, Tipo-Tipo, Ungkaya Pukan, Sumisip, Maluso and Lantawan, then finally proceeds back to Isabela City.

The construction of BCR started in 2000, and its completion was delayed due to armed conflicts in the past. The project included the upgrading and concreting of 51.56 kilometers road section and construction of four bridges. These parts were worth P1.825 billion. The improvement and paving of the remaining 0.78 km bridge approaches is targeted to be completed in the third quarter of 2016. While, an additional P625 Million is included in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 General Appropriation Act (GAA) for the improvement and upgrading of the existing paved road sections.

The completed section reduces the travel time around Basilan from three hours and 45 minutes to two hours or less, helping more than 450,000 residents.

The DPWH-ARMM capitalizes on roads, bridges and other infrastructures to facilitate the movement of agriculture products and other goods across the region.

A total of 1,520.967 kilometers of in the ARMM are targeted to be paved from since 2012. As of February 2016, it has already concreted 701.238 kilometers of roads.

For this 2016 regular infrastructure projects, the DPWH-ARMM is targeting to construct 485.726 kilometers of roads, 46 bridges, 14 flood control structures, 12 drainage canals, 54 water supply systems, 25 seaports and 41 other projects across the region.

The massive infrastructure program is expected to generate thousands of jobs in the region. “We in the DPWH-ARMM build not only roads, but hopes and dreams as well of the Bangsamoro people,” Don Mustapha Loong, ARMM’s Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary, said.

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