Tuesday, 2 March 2010

PGMA inaugurates rehabilitated portion of Halsema Highway


BAUKO, Mountain Province, March 1 (PNA) - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated on Monday the P1.094-billion portion of the Halsema Highway concreting project which starts from the Mount Data Bridge to the capital town of Bontoc.

The completed phase II of the project is a vital part of the 180 Baguio-Bontoc-Ifugao road project which has a total cost of P5.2 billion. It is included in the government's flagship projects outlined in the President's past state of the nation address (SONA).

President Arroyo was assisted in the ribbon cutting ceremony by Mountain Province Governor Maximo Dalog and other local officials.

During the speech of the Chief Executive, Loreto Buyaan, president of the Benguet Farmers Association, gave a testimony that the 100-kilometer concreting project of the Halsema Highway which starts from La Trinidad, Benguet up to Bontoc has cut the normal eight-hour travel time to only four hours.

With the completion of the Phases I and II of the Baguio-Bontoc road, Buyaan said that vegetables harvested and transported on the same day to Metro Manila remain fresh, while more of the local businessmen had also ventured into transportation business.

Local carpenter Henry Dalog also told the President that the various construction projects provided jobs to hundreds of residents.

The remaining Tabuk-Tinglayan Kalinga portion of the project with P2.3 billion fund is still undergoing construction but is set to be finished sometime in June or July this year.

Likewise, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional director Rico Gilas said that the portion of Bontoc-Banaue, Ifugao Road with a fund of P864 million as well as the Bontoc-Tuguegarao Cagayan road are also being completed and will also be inaugurated by the President before her term ends in June.

He admitted that the little delays in their works were due to various typhoons, the latest of which was "Pepeng" in October last year.

President Arroyo said in her speech before the townsfolk here that these infrastructure projects which provide artery network of roads in the region will boost agriculture, tourism and social services "which are vital for our role in the North Luzon super economic region." (PNA)

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