US grant to fund Samar road networkBy Joey Gabieta
TACLOBAN CITY—The government will start in September the construction of a $214-million 220-kilometer road network in Samar that will draw funds from the US government under a grant that the Philippines became qualified to receive by meeting goals set by the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC).
The Samar road network will cover nine towns and a city in two provinces on the island—Samar and Eastern Samar—according to the project engineer, Rudolfo Arias.
Arias said the road network, which falls under the Secondary National Roads Development Project (SNRDP), will start in September and be completed in May 2016, about a month before President Aquino ends his six-year term.
The project is being funded by MCC and involves the construction of new roads and bridges.
Arias said better roads could help improve the economy of Samar, one of the country’s most impoverished areas, and the lives of its people.
“Samar is one of the poorest provinces in the country but with better and improved road conditions, we expect trade and commerce to improve,” Arias said.
“There will be a faster transfer of goods and services,” he added.
The road project, he said, has to be finished on schedule or funds allotted for it will have to be returned to the US government.
If that happens, he said, the Philippine government would have to continue financing the unfinished portions of the project.
Arias, however, expressed optimism that the project will be finished on time.
“Our only problem is the weather. If we continue to experience continuous rains in Samar, the project will be delayed,” Arias said.
The road project is broken up into four phases but Arias said construction of projects under package 3 will start first because the design and the bidding processes have already been completed for this.
Package 3 will be 64-km long, covering the towns of Julian, Maydolong and Balangkayan and Borongan City in Eastern Samar. Construction of this phase will start in September.
Bidding for package 1 is set on July 16 and will cover 16 km in Barangays Buray and Tenani, both in Paranas town, Samar.
Bidding for package 2 has yet to be set. This will span 64 km, covering the towns of Paranas and Hinabangan in Samar and Sulat and Taft in Eastern Samar.