THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has drawn up an initial $50 million worth of road and water supply projects in Sulu, an island province in southwestern Philippines, and it is eyeing support from the World Bank for the program rollout.
In a statement on Sunday, the department said World Bank and DPWH officials visited Sulu on April 1 to strengthen coordination with local leaders and representatives of appropriate offices for the design and implementation of the proposed infrastructure projects.
“With the help of World Bank, we are looking forward to implement development infrastructure projects in Sulu as an opportunity to improve social service delivery to reduce poverty and boost peace-building efforts that will help ensure inclusive growth,” said DPWH Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, the chief implementer of the Build, Build, Build program and focal person for projects in the Bangsamoro region.
Mr. Sadain said initial discussions have been undertaken with World Bank officials for financing support on the rehabilitation and upgrading of roads as well as water supply improvement in the remote province that has been saddled by security problems.
The $50-million initial fund will cover repairs and improvement on the 162-kilometer Sulu Island Circumferential Road “and to address the problem of lack of access to safe water,” according to DPWH.
The visiting party conducted an ocular visit and field assessment of the existing groundwater supply system.
“It was the first time for a World Bank team to reach Sulu… a place blessed with the most fertile of lands, sweetest of fruits and freshest aquamarine products, but has been battered with decades of armed hostilities because of violent extremist groups and banditry including clan disputes,” DPWH said. — Marifi S. Jara