The Department of Budget and Management has approved the release of P3.8 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to fund nationwide tourism road projects and infrastructure initiatives in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and to fulfill the departmentâ€™s contractual obligations for completed projects.
Of the said amount, P2.37 billion was approved for tourism road construction projects jointly proposed by DPWH and the Department of Tourism (DOT), chargeable against the 2012 General Appropriations Act.
The release will support the construction of national roads to strategic tourist destinations, including arterial and secondary roads across the country.
â€śOne of the ways through which the Aquino administration can encourage economic growth is by addressing the demand for better roads to tourist destinations. Tourism, after all, is a low-lying fruit that yields immediate economic benefits. Once constructed, the roads should invigorate tourism-related activity in these areas, as well as ramp up commerce and job creation,â€ť Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a statement.
Meanwhile, P1 billion will be used to implement the 2012 ARMM Infrastructure Program, which involves the construction and upgrading of infrastructure systems to support tourism, agriculture, peace and security, and public health and sanitation initiatives in the region.
The program covers the development of roads, bridges, ports, and water systems in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur.
â€śInfrastructure development in the ARMM has stalled for many years, resulting in the regionâ€™s severely limited economic growth. This release will go a long way in helping the ARMM gain some long-overdue and much-needed economic leverage, allowing it to find effective and sustainable solutions to combat poverty,â€ť Abad added.
Of the total fund release, P426.16 million will be used to pay various contractual claims under the DPWH for projects that have already been completed. The implementation of these projects underwent the proper procurement process, with the claims duly evaluated and revalidated by concerned implementing offices under the agency.
â€śThe DPWH under Sec. Singson has enforced key reform measures to boost the agencyâ€™s transparency and efficiency in all phases of project implementation. To date, the agency has addressed critical bottlenecks and plugged funding leaks to ensure that every peso is well-spent and fully accounted for,â€ť Abad said.
Source: pia.gov, September 20, 2012