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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Extortion, threats hamper road project implementation in Zambo. Norte, says DPWH-9

By Franklin P. Gumapon

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay – Although the military officials have belied reports that the delay in the construction of the west coast road project in Zamboanga del Norte was due to peace and order problem, an official of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-9 averred that extortion and threats from lawless groups had prevented the contractors from pursuing the project.

In the 150th Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting held here last March 5, Assistant Regional Director Nenita Robles of DPWH-9 told the participants that the contractors of the west coast road project traversing the municipalities Baliguian, Siocon, Sirawai, and Sibuco in Zamboanga del Norte to Zamboanga City were receiving extortion letters and threats from the lawless elements operating in the area.

Robles also disclosed that some of the contractors’ heavy equipment were allegedly burned down by their own workers for non-payment of wages.

In a related development, Robles bared that the proposed conversion of the 64.61-kilometer Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte to R.T. Lim, Zamboanga Sibugay provincial road to a national road is now underway. “Traverse survey was already conducted by the two engineering districts based in Labason, Zamboanga del Norte and in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay and the central office is awaiting additional requirements to be submitted by these two engineering districts,” Robles pointed out.

“Concreting of said road may take place within the current year or early next year,” she added.

The 150th RDC meeting, which was participated in by the regional directors of the national government agencies, provincial governors, city mayors, presidents of the league of municipalities and private sector representatives, was hosted by the municipal government of Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, the heart of Zamboanga Peninsula.