Photo credit: Department of Public Works and Highways
A key and long-awaited road project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Zamboanga Sibugay Province has now contributed to the development of agribusiness, ecotourism, and logistics in the island of Olutanga and the town of Alicia.
According to Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, in-charge of DPWH infrastructure flagship projects under “Build Better More” program, the once terrible and horrible travel experienced about decades ago because of deep muddy road is already a thing of the past with the concrete paving of a highway known as Lutiman-Guicam-Olutanga Road.
The 29.7-kilometer Lutiman-Guicam-Olutanga Road, one (1) of the three (3) core road projects under the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-assited Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project (IGCMRSP) implemented and completed by DPWH thru its Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) - Roads Management Cluster II (Multilateral), is a game changer for the socio-economic growth and development of Alicia and Olutanga Island.
In his report to Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan following an occular inspection on July 7-8, 2023, Senior Undersecretary Sadain said that the construction of an inter-island Guicam Bridge which is a separate non-core component of IGCMRSP connected with the Lutiman-Guicam-Olutanga Road is 43% completed to date and target for completion by 2024.
With an entire project length of 1.21 kilometer, the bridge project to link Barangay Guicam, Alicia to Barangay Hula-Hula, Mabuhay crossing the Canaliso Strait will serve as transport and economic connector between the three (3) municipalities of the Olutanga Island which include Olutanga, Talusan, and Mabuhay and mainland municipality of Alicia toward other towns of Zamboanga Sibugay.
The long-term impact of the project will contribute to sustaining peace and security in the Island, as well as harness the socio-economic opportunities and growth of the communities.
Oluntanga Island has a vast tourism and agro-fishery potential with its long coastline of beaches, snorkeling and diving sites, production of high value aqua and fisheries products especially the fish cage farming of "Lapulapu", dried fish-making, and seaweed industry.
The P25.257 Billion IGCMRSP finance with a loan amounting P19.080 Billion by the Asian Development Bank and P6.117 Billion to be funded by the Government of the Philippines, is composed of eight ( 8 ) sub-projects with portland concrete cement paving of roads of about 151.05 kilometers and construction of 31 bridges with a total length 2,132.62 meters all located in Zamboanga Peninsula, and three (3) bridges with a total gross length of 1,790 lineal meters located in island province of Tawi-Tawi.
Also inspected by Senior Undersecretary with UPMO Project Directors Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim and Benjamin A. Bautista, Stakeholders Relations Service Director Randy R. Del Rosario, and Project Manager Emmanuel M. Supe are the completed 24-kilometer Alicia-Malangas Road with eight ( 8 ) bridges and 17.93-kilometer Siay-Gapol Road with two (2) on-going bridges located in Zamboanga Sibugay Province and the on-going 24.52-kilometer R.T. Lim-Siocon Road with eight ( 8 ) bridges connecting provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte.
The DPWH UPMO - Roads Management Cluster II (Multilateral) headed by Project Director Hasim has already completed 122.07 kilometers of paved roads equivalent to 81% and 11 out of 34 bridges.
By end of December 2023, DPWH is targeting to reach the total paved roads into 143.12 kilometers and complete additional eight ( 8 ) bridges.