|Fast Completion of Tawi-Tawi Bridge Assured|
|Saturday, 23 February 2008 04:22|
BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi — US Ambassador Kristie Kenney has assured the provincial government here of the early completion of the 600-meter-long two-lane steel bridge which will connect the mainland of Tawi-Tawi to the island town of Sanga-Sanga, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul Sahali said yesterday. Governor Sahali said Kenny assured him that the US government is now considering the early completion of the bridge project.
The construction work was suspended a few months ago due to the non-release of fund by the US government for the project. The provincial government has allotted P53 million for the project which when completed, will allow residents of Sanga-Sanga to travel by land to this town and will give them a chance to fasttrack trade and commerce.
At present, residents in that municipality have to rely on outrigger bancas and other small type of watercraft to bring them to this capital town of Bongao, and take a vessel going to Zamboanga City to trade their goods.
Kenny assured Sahali that there will be no deployment of additional US military troops to the province while those who are already here are directed to conduct humanitarian and medical mission for the people of Tawi-Tawi.
The US envoy said that more infrastructure projects funded by the United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) are expected to be implemented this year in this province.
"We are thankful that the US government has included this province in its concern for development in this country, and we vowed to support for and extend our full cooperation are with the American soldiers while they here for the construction of the bridge and other infrastructure projects and humanitarian missions," Sahali said.
In a related development, technical experts from the US Embassy Growth Equity for Mindanao (GEM), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have separately started to survey the local airport here in preparation for its improvement.
The project includes side development and improvement, width expansion of the runway, and extension by an additional 400 meters distance of the runway. The work on the local airport here is scheduled to start on the 3rd quarter of this year with an international bank seen as financing the cost of works in the improvement of the airport here.
When completed, the airport can easily accommodate medium-size passenger aircraft whose runway requirement must be at least 2,000 meters. Sahali said once the runway is completed, it can also accommodate medium-size international passenger aircraft coming from any city in the country, including Metro Manila. (By Nonoy E. Lacson)
Published in Manila Bulletin, February 22, 2008