On January 25, 2016, Secretary Don Loong was joined by District Engineer Soler Undug of Basilan DEO, Akbar Municipal Mayor Alih Sali, Hadji Muhammad Ajul Municipal Mayor Talib Pawaki, Tipo-tipo Municipal Mayor Ingatun Istarul, Lamitan City Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay, the three Basilan Regional Assemblymen Haber Asarul, Ali Ismael and Ronie Hantian and the DPWH-ARMM Inspectorate Team during the inspection of completed and on-going road projects in these areas.

More than 5 billion peso worth of infrastructure projects have already been implemented in the island province of Basilan by the Department of Public Works and Highways in the Muslim Mindanao region, Basilan District Engineering Office (DEO) from CY 2012 to 2015 under the ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman Administration.

In Barangay Balas in Lamitan City, a 150 million peso worth of road project at a span of 7.5 km is currently being undertaken. This road will ease transportation of agricultural products such as rubber and copra.

Hashim Majel, a rubber harvester, told the group the new road now allows them to transport their product easily. This shortened the travel time from two hours to fifteen minutes, a remark he thanked the Hataman administration for.

This statement was corroborated by Ferdinand Chiva, official of barangay Colonia in Lamitan City. He added that the 1.5 km new paved road in their area now allows them to transport their agricultural products not only on carabao carts but also on wheels.

In Barangay Semmut in the municipality of Akbar, a 15 km, 184 million peso worth road now provides students of Upper Bato-Bato easier access to school. It now provides relief to students’ weary feet from long hours of walk. It specifically provides relief from the once muddy and stone strung unpaved road going to their school.

These projects, which form part of the Basilan DEO flagship projects for CY 2016, were among those inspected by Loong and Soler. These roads, spanning more than 26 kilometers and totaling more than 400 million pesos, ultimately connects the city of Lamitan and the municipalities of Akbar and Mohammad Ajul.

In 2016, DPWH-ARMM is set to undertake more than 2.4 billion peso worth of projects in Basilan to complement ongoing projects and the peace process.

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