Friday, June 29, 2018

DOTC-ARMM:Sa Tinagal-Tagal ng Panahon Napansin Kami at Pinakinggan

Wazzup Pilipinas!

It is a common sentiment among those in rural areas in the Visayas and Mindanao --- that many of the government’s development projects are centered in Metro Manila and in other mega cities, while those in far-flung provinces are not given much attention.  But, not this time. Not anymore. 

Consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to make a big push toward regional and rural development, more and more projects are being lined up in the southern parts of the country for implementation, in an effort to spread benefits of economic growth and lift populations out of poverty. Inclusive growth, after all, is strongly linked to this administration’s battle cry of “Build, Build, Build.”

On June 28, 2018, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, along with the department’s undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and heads of attached agencies met with officials from the DOTC-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) headed by Regional Secretary Datu Ombra Sinsuat Jr. 

The meeting was organized to discuss empowering linkages, coordination, and collaboration between the DOTr and its counterpart in the ARMM.

“Sa tinagal-tagal ng panahon, napansin kami. First time po na hinarap kami ng DOTr nang kumpleto. First time din na kami ay pinakinggan. Na-surprise kami ‘nun, pati mga kasama ko,” said Sinsuat. 

According to Secretary Tugade, the meeting is just among the efforts of the department to ensure that local governments do not feel left out, and are actively involved in efforts to improve their locality, especially in Mindanao, where many areas are still under-developed due to years of violence, corruption, and under-investment.  

“Mahal na mahal ni Pangulong Duterte ang ARMM,” Secretary Tugade told the officials. “Kung dati, pinangakuan kayo at hindi natupad, sinisiguro ko sa inyo na ‘yung mga pangako ngayon, mangyayari ‘yun,” he added. 

The DOTr has 28 port projects and 11 airport projects in ARMM. Among these are the widening and construction of port facilities in the Al Barka Ports Cluster in Basilan, and ports construction in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. Several airport development projects are also included in this year’s funding, particularly for Jolo Airport in Sulu, Cotabato Airport, and Sanga-Sanga Airport in Tawi-Tawi.  

Reg. Secretary Sinsuat said Secretary Tugade will again join them for a sectoral meeting to discuss the developments of the projects. He is hopeful that this time, with the continuous support of the national government, there will be genuine and lasting progress in the region. 

“Ako, more than one year akong secretary, pero first time yung ganito ka-fruitful na meeting na naramdaman namin sa time ni Secretary Tugade,” he said. 

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