PRESIDENT ARROYO LEADS BUKIDNON GROUNDBREAKING FOR AUSTRALIAN-SUPPORTED ROAD PROJECT
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, accompanied by Australian Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Stephen Scott, today led the Bukidnon groundbreaking ceremony for the Australian Government-funded Provincial Road Management Facility at the Sayre Highway (Damay) Guilang-guilang-Kalampigan-Kalabugao Road in Impasug-ong Municipality.
Segments of the 39km provincial road will be rehabilitated by the Provincial Road Management Facility, a five-year, Php3.8 billion program funded by the Australian Government’s Aid Program.
Through the Facility, Australia will help manage and maintain more than 1000km of provincial roads in up to 10 provinces in Mindanao and the Visayas. Bukidnon is one of the initial seven provinces that will be covered by the program.
“Australia is pleased to be partnering with the Philippines Government through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and with our partner provincial governments in this significant project,” Mr Scott said.
“Infrastructure drives development and improves the livelihoods of all citizens. The Provincial Road Management Facility will promote development and economic growth by strengthening governance and improving the quality of provincial roads in the southern Philippines.”
“In Bukidnon, the Facility will provide approximately Php35 million in the project’s first year to rehabilitate up to 51km of roads that will connect interior and upland communities to the national highway.”
“The Facility will stimulate Bukidnon’s economy by using Philippine firms to create local jobs, a vital contribution in the midst of a global recession.”
“An estimated 31,000 people, mostly agricultural farmers – particularly palm oil and rubber producers, pineapple growers, and rice, corn, abaca, and coconut farmers – will benefit from improved access to markets, reduced transportation costs and increased income.”
“Good roads will also provide the indigenous communities in Bukidnon, such as the Manobo and the Higaonon, with greater access to livelihood opportunities, schools, health and other social services.”
Also present at the ceremony were Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Project Partner and DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno, members of the Cabinet, and Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Rubin Zubiri.
Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and one of the country’s three largest bilateral grant aid donors. In 2009¬–10, the Australian Government will provide an estimated Php4.6 billion (A$123 million) in development assistance, focusing on economic growth, basic education, and national stability and human security.