(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 18 April 2024) Easterlies affecting the country. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Monday, 11 March 2024

Bridge connecting Dinagat Islands to Surigao, Visayas eyed

By Renelle Escuadro

BUTUAN CITY (PIA) – The Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) will endorse the Surigao City-Nonoc Island-Dinagat-Leyte road network as its first priority project and program (PAP) for presentation to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in a meeting with the council chairpersons in April 2024.

This announcement was made during the recent Joint Caraga RDC Full Council – Advisory Committee Meeting in Butuan City.

According to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Caraga Director Gemima A. Olam, the P167 billion inter-regional infrastructure project will be spearheaded by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), with a target implementation period of 2025 to 2040.

Olam enumerated the challenges to regional development, with Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Visayas having sea transportation as the only mode of connectivity.

The priority projects of Caraga Region, including the construction of the Surigao City-Nonoc Island-Dinagat-Leyte road network, were shared with the members of the Caraga Regional Development Council during the recent Joint Caraga RDC Full Council – Advisory Committee Meeting in Butuan City. (Photo by PIA-Caraga)

”With an average of 20 typhoons per year and limited access to transportation have adversely affected the delivery of goods and services in the region, particularly in the island areas during extreme weather events.”

“The absence of a bridge to connect these vital locations has resulted in high poverty incidence, partly attributable to inter-island barriers, limiting access to economic and investment opportunities,” she said.

“Dinagat Island’s high inflation rate of 6.3 percent in 2023 was due to soaring inter-island transportation costs,” the director added.

Olam further highlighted the advantages of the project, saying, “This giant infrastructure that will connect major areas of Visayas and Mindanao will provide a resilient, seamless, and inclusive transportation system in the region. This will also result in the reduction of the local inflation rate to 2.4 percent by the end of 2028, an increase in local investment, and a decrease in travel time for goods and services.”

Gov. Nilo P. Demerey Jr. of the Province of Dinagat Islands and chairperson of the Caraga RDC expressed gratitude to the council and stakeholders for supporting the said project.

“The connectivity through this project will answer the problem of inadequate modes of transportation, especially during adverse weather conditions, which in turn greatly affected the timely and efficient transport of goods and services,” Demerey said.

DPWH Regional Director Pol P. Delos Santos further shared that  “the notable infrastructure will consist of eight bridges, of which two will be long bridges, two short bridges, and four viaducts.”

The project will involve the construction of four coastal viaduct roads spanning 20.77 kilometers (km); a 3.2 km bridge from Surigao City to Nonoc Island and 1.2 km bridge from Nonoc Island to Dinagat Islands; and a 0.80-km and a 0.20-km bridges within the Dinagat Islands. A long-span bridge with a distance of 28 km will also be constructed to connect Tubajon in Dinagat to Anahawan in Leyte.

The Surigao City-Nonoc Island-Dinagat-Leyte road network will have two components. The first is the Caraga Section (SDN-PDI), which consists of coastal viaducts, roads, and bridges spanning across Surigao del Norte and the Province of Dinagat Islands. The second component is the connectivity to Southern Leyte, which mainly covers a long-span bridge initially identified from Tubajon, Province of Dinagat Islands, to Anahawan, Southern Leyte. Photo courtesy of DPWH-13.

The meeting with the President is part of the NEDA’s initiative to strengthen the link between the Public Investment Program and the Regional Development Investment Program and to advocate to the President the inclusion of the regional priority projects in the calendar year 2025 agency budget proposals and in the National Expenditure Program.

The Caraga RDC chairperson and key officials will also present to the President the remaining two priority PAPs of the region, namely, the full functionality of the Caraga Regional Hospital and Adela Serra-Ty Memorial Medical Center as Level III hospitals and the upgrade Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital and Butuan Medical Center to Level III from Levels I and II hospitals, respectively, as this will address the need for specialized medical services while reducing the out-of-pocket expenditure of patients in the region; and the establishment of an integrated grain processing center in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur as a strategic initiative to bolster agricultural productivity.

The council has high hopes that  these key projects are expected to significantly bolster the region's development trajectory and substantially contribute to the Caraga Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2023-2028's long-term goals. (RLE/PIA-Caraga, with a report from NEDA-13)