SABLAYAN, Occidental Mindoro—The Department of Public Works and Highways has shelled out additional P395 million to fund the construction of road openings and “missing gaps” to connect the twin Mindoro provinces for purposes of economic development.
The new road project, called the Mindoro Cross-Island Road Project, will cut through two agricultural municipalities in the center of the island, Sablayan, in Occidental Mindoro, and Victoria, in Oriental Mindoro.
Undersecretary Romeo S. Momo, the DPWH’s in-charge for Luzon Operations, informed Sablayan Mayor Eduardo B. Gadiano that an initial amount of P100 million has already been allocated to fund the construction of road openings connecting national roads of the two municipalities.
The Mindoro Cross-Island Road will connect Sablayan to Victoria through a 50-kilometer road network system that will traverse several mountain ranges in the border of the two Mindoro provinces, DPWH engineers said.
Oriental Mindoro District Engineer Nestor del Rosario said the counterpart budget of P145 million for the cross-island project has already been bid out by the DPWH. “It’s ready for implementation to open the new road on the eastern side of the island,” he said.
Mayor Gadiano said this road project is a welcome development for his municipality as “transport of goods, mostly agricultural, such as rice, corn, fishery and other food crops, and services will be easier. It will also promote tourism as more visitors will come to see our town and other parts of the province.”
The Sablayan Sangguniang Bayan, through Vice Mayor Andres D. Dangeros, has passed a resolution in December, 2016, requesting DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar, through Occidental Mindoro District engineer Josefino M. Melgar Jr., for the project’s funding and inclusion in the 2017 General Appropriations Act.
The DPWH also included in the GAA 2017 appropriations budget for its infrastructure program the additional sum of P150 million to connect the missing gap in its Mindoro Circumferential Road Project, also called the Puerto Galera-Abra de Ilog Road, connecting the northern side of the two Mindoro provinces.
This circumferential and coastal road project has a total length of almost 16 kilometers costing more than P1 billion.
Sablayan, with its land size of 2,188.80 square kilometers located in central Mindoro island, is the largest municipality of the Philippines, and classified as the rice granary of Occidental Mindoro. While Victoria town, in Oriental Mindoro, is the “fruit basket of the Mimaropa Region.”
In the SB resolution, Councilor Walter B. Marquez said the opening and construction of the Sablayan-Victoria Cross-Island Road is “very important for the shortest connectivity between the two adjacent municipalities in terms of political cooperation and economic development.”
“Through LGU cooperation, this road project will enable a fast and efficient transportation system and a vibrant economy, trade and commerce, and the revival of tourism not just in Sablayan but for the whole island of Mindoro,” Marquez said.
The road project will open in Bgy. Pag-asa, in Sablayan, and Bgy. Villa Cerveza, in Victoria, that will snake through the island’s mountain borders.