The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) expressed commitment in financing rehabilitation, reconstruction and community development projects in Zamboanga City.
Saudi Arabia's plan to help fund Philippines’ program to rebuild and improve Zamboanga City damaged by September 2013 siege between government troops and the Moro National Liberation Front gains headway as Director General Hasan M. Alattas of the SFD Technical Department has informed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) of the availability of grant amounting 5 Million US dollar.
Earlier, DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson held a meeting in Manila on December last year with SFD Technical and Financial Mission headed by Project Consular and Director General of Asia Region Mohammad Al-Arifi and discussed among others the possibility of availment of a grant for the construction of a Mosque, Islamic school, water supply and sewage system, and rebuilding of houses.
Elated with the positive response of the Saudi government to his request, Secretary Singson said that the availability of financial assistance will put into action the Zamboanga City Road Map to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R), a concept plan developed by the national government in partnership with UP Planning and Development Research Foundation, Inc. (UP PLANADES) and City Government of Zamboanga to prepare the rehabilitation plan for the barangays severely affected by the conflict that include Rio Hondo, Mariki, Sta. Catalina among others.
The rehabilitation plan also incorporates the principle of “Build Back Better Zamboanga” which means better road networks in the affected areas and disaster and climate change-resilient infrastructure and public facilities particularly against flooding and high tide.
During the December 2013 meeting, SFD Mission also discussed with Secretary Singson, Undersecretary Rafael C. Yabut and Project Manager Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim of DPWH SFD-assisted Mindanao Roads Improvement Project their intent to extend the existing loan package with DPWH for the completion of Mindanao road projects particularly the improvement/rehabilitation of dilapidated pavement sections of Basilan and Lake Lanao Circumferential Roads until December 2014.
With full blast works for projects under on-going Mindanao Roads Improvement Project in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City now being pursued by the national government through local financing, the willingness of the Saudi government to continue finance road projects will enable to proceed with road improvement and rehabilitation works in adjacent road sections, said Singson.