Tuesday, 8 April 2008

US envoy assures early completion of Tawi-Tawi bridge

American presence in the Moslem South
Nonoy E. Lacson
(with corrections of some typos --Ed.)
http://www.mb.com.ph/PROV20080408121331.html

BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi — United States Ambassador Kristy Kenney has assured the provincial government here of the early completion of a 600-meter-long, two-lane steel bridge which, when completed, will connect the mainland of this province to the island town of SangaSanga.

Gov. Sadikul Sahali said yesterday that Ambassador Kenney was here last week to inaugurate some projects funded by the US government.

Work was suspended a few months ago due to the non-release of funds by the US government.

During her visit here, Kenney also inspected proposed sites for projects in the province and committed to Sahali financial assistance to some of the projects which will be undertaken by the United States Assistance for International Development (USAID).

Sahali said the provincial government has allotted PHP53 million for the bridge project.

When completed, the bridge will allow residents of Sanga-Sanga to travel by land to this capital town.

At present, residents of that municipality have to rely on outrigger bancas and other small types of watercraft to bring them to this capital town.

Kenney also assured Sahali that there will be no more deployment of US troops to the province, while those who are already here are conducting humanitarian and medical missions for the people of Tawi-Tawi.

The US envoy also said that more infrastructure projects financed by USAID program are expected to be undertaken this year in this province.

"We are thankful that the US government has included this province in the list of development projects in the country as we vow to support and extend our full cooperation with the Americans soldiers while they here for the construction of the bridge and other infrastructure projects and conduct of the humanitarian missions," Sahali said.

In a related development, technical people of the US Embassy Growth Equity for Mindanao (GEM), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) completed the survey of the local airport here in preparation for its expansion and widening of the runway.

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