The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has started to synchronize infrastructure development plans and programs to finally make the change for the living condition of the Bangsamoro people happen.
Secretary Mark A. Villar said that the DPWH is fully committed to implement construction of national roads and bridges and flood control structures that will benefit the Bangsamoro people pursuant to Section 37 Article 13 of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in July 2018.
Secretary Villar sent to Cotabato City the assigned Focal Person for BARMM Infrastructure Projects and his Alternate Representative to the Intergovernmental Relation (IGR) Body and the Intergovernmental Infrastructure Development Board (lIDB) Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, for a meeting with BARMM Ministry of Public Works (MPW) to fast-track BOL's implementation.
The first consultation meeting between DPWH and MPW BARMM paved the way for a better understanding on the implementation of both national and local infrastructure in BARMM, said Secretary Villar.
According to Undersecretary Sadain, the meeting tackled the conduct of road condition and traffic count survey on BARMM national roads and its integration to the road network system database, the maintenance of national roads in the said region and the proposal for the creation of the Regional Project Management Office (RPMO) for Bangsamoro submitted to Department of Budget and Management (DBM) which was recently approved by the Office of the President last December 2020.
The RPMO will now handle the direct implementation of all DPWH national infra for BARMM funded by the General Appropriations Act (GAA) once the office has been activated and the hiring of personnel fully completed, said Undersecretary Sadain.
Also discussed during the meeting between Undersecretary Sadain and BARMM Public Works Minister Eduard Guerra and also attended by DPWH Project Directors Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim and Virgilio C. Castillo, Bureau of Maintenance Director Ernesto S. Gregorio Jr., Project Manager Francisco Sawali, and other resource person from DPWH Planning, Legal and Human Resource Services, were the formulation of mechanisms pertaining to human resources and assets and the devolution of powers and functions between parties over the DPWH Cotabato City District Engineering Office (CCDEO) per Section 11 of Article 16 of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
A synergistic interaction on urgent concerns was also held between the visiting DPWH Central Office officials and DPWH Regional Office 12 Director Basir M. Ibrahim and the CCDEO officials and personnel.
DPWH will begin its program to strengthen connectivity between areas in BARMM and other regions of Mindanao by developing and upgrading 176.60 kms primary and its access roads under the P12.86 Billion Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
With completed detailed design study from the technical support provided by the JICA, the DPWH targets to start soonest the construction/ improvement of 13.9 kilometers Matanog-Barira-Alamada-Libungan Road and 63 kilometers Tapian-Lebak Coastal Road.
Other contract packages are still underway for detailed design. These are the detailed design works for three (3) long span bridges in Tawi Tawi Province, the feasibility studies of coastal road projects and iconic bridge for the Provinces of Sulu and Basilan, and the 60 kms transcentral roads for Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.