Gov’t sets aside P300 M for Samar coastal road project
TACLOBAN CITY- Some P300 million counterpart was set aside by the central government this year in preparation for the full blown implementation of P1.6 billion concreting of the Samar Pacific Coastal Road to be funded by the Korean government.
Preparatory works between two countries is now in progress to ensure smooth implementation by mid 2013 of the road network that will connect Northern Samar and Eastern Samar, said Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Director Rolando Asis.
Asis said that 44 kilometers of the road network is already concrete through previous funding from the central government.
The Korean Export-Import bank loan will finance the paving of 28 kilometers while the Philippine government committed to upgrade 37 kilometers of bad roads.
The foreign funding will concentrate on the Northern Samar Pacific towns while local budget will be used to upgrade the road in Eastern Samar sections.
The 109-kilometer road stretches in the towns of Laoang, Palapag, Mapanas, Gamay, Lapinig in Northern Samar; Arteche and San Policarpo in Eastern Samar.
The funding request was approved January 2012 shortly after Korean officials inspected the site last year. The Philippine government endorsed the project early in 2009 for consideration of Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF).
“The Samar Pacific Coastal Road is the longest stretch of unpaved road in the region. The target is to concrete this road network on or before 2016, as instructed by the President,” Asis told Leyte Samar Daily Express.
EDCF is a Korean official development assistance program run by Seoul-based Korea Export-Import Bank, which operates as an official export credit agency that provides export credit and guarantee programs to support Korean enterprises in conducting overseas business.
The present condition of the most part of coastal road only allows motorcycle to pass by the area and transport system is largely dependent on the use of pump boats, according to DPWH records.
Asis explained that road improvement along the coastal road will increase traffic between Borongan City, Eastern Samar’s capital and municipality of Catarman, Northern Samar’s capital.
The said project will complete the circumferential road loop for the Samar Island.
Last year, the DPWH estimated the project to cost a total of P3.2 billion, involving concrete paving and widening of gravel roads as well as construction of flood control structures and rehabilitation or replacement of 20 bridges.
By Sarwell Q. Meniano
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