The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is seeking the support of development partner World Bank to push several infrastructure projects for the sustainable growth of the Province of Sulu in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
DPWH Undersecretary and Build Build Build Chief Implementer Emil K. Sadain said that initial talks has been made with World Bank officials for financing investment on rehabilitation/upgrading and asset preservation of pavement condition to facilitate road accessibility improvements, and to help address the inadequacy of water supply in Sulu Province.
Undersecretary Sadain, DPWH Secretary Roger G. Mercado’s focal person for BARMM infra projects, and Mr. Achim Fock, the Manila-based World Bank Operations Manager for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, visited Sulu Province for better cooperation and coordination with the provincial government and appropriate offices in the planning and design of various proposed projects.
The two (2) officials were joined by World Bank Sector Leader for Sustainable Development Ms. Madhu Raghunath; World Bank Senior Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist Ms. Ma. Fiorella Fabella; Project Director Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim of DPWH Unified Project Management Office – Roads Management Cluster 2 (Multilateral); UP Professors Mehol Sadain and Darwin Absari; and the team of consultants Reynaldo Medina.
Sulu Governor Abdusakur M. Tan warmly welcomed the DPWH and World Bank officials upon their arrival at Jolo Airport in Jolo, Sulu on April 1, 2022.
“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 peacebuilding efforts that will help ensure inclusive growth”, added Undersecretary Sadain.
The initial budgetary projections for possible road and water projects is estimated at $50 million.
This baseline amount will be provided for the improvement and preservation of 162-kilometer Sulu Island Circumferential Road, and to address the problem of lack of access to safe water through provision of water supply and sanitation service.
At a risk of becoming structurally deficient, about 40% or 64.8 kilometers of Sulu Circumferential Road is proposed to undergo upgrading and rehabilitation while asset preservation works on the remaining 60% or 97.2 kilometers will extend the lifespan of road pavement.
The DPWH National-World Bank team, which held project discussions with Governor Tan and Sulu Mainland Water District officials, also conducted on-the-ground field assessment of the operation of existing groundwater supply sources at Camp Asturias (Kiram Spring) Pumping Station at Barangay Asturias, Jolo and Gravity Feed Pumping Station at Barangay Umangay, Patikul.
It was the first time for a World Bank team to reach Sulu in southern Philippines, 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 that has severely affected the economic and social condition of the province.
The visit in Sulu Province was coordinated by Project Manager for Sulu Barlie Nahudan, and Engineers Evangeline Fernando and Eileen Diya of DPWH-BARMM Regional Project Management Office (RPMO); and Sulu District Engineers Ajan Ajijul and Sameer Arbison of BARMM Ministry of Public Works.