Monthly Archives: May 2014

Panguil Bay Bridge ready by 2016 – RDC-X

Archimedes C. Lazaro & Peleta B. Abejo
NEDA-X and PIA-10
(February 6, 2014)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, 6 Feb 2014 (PIA) – Officials of the Regional Development Council of Northern Mindanao (RDC-X) and major stakeholders of the Panguil Bay Bridge (PBB) Project met with Secretary Rogelio L. Lingson of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on January 3, 20143 at the DPWH Central Office to facilitate funding and early implementation of the Panguil Bay Bridge (PBB) Project.

Secretary Singson expressed full support for the implementation of the PBB project within the term of the Aquino Administration in consonance with the government’s efforts on enhancing agriculture and tourism development in the region.

Latest developments include the completion of the new business case study with grant assistance from the Government of Korea. The civil works and approaches are proposed to be implemented through a combination of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Government of the Philippines (GOP) funding that shall include the acquisition of the road right-of-way.

With ODA funding, the DPWH can avail of foreign technology in constructing and designing bridges in relatively deep bays.

Once completed, it was suggested that the operation and maintenance of the bridge shall be managed by a private sector, which shall collect toll fees from the users through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

Approval of the PBB project by the NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee is targeted within the first half of 2014, so that the loan can be obtained by mid-2014, detailed engineering to start in the fourth quarter this year, and bridge construction to commence within 2015.

Costing P5.193 billion, this 3.6 kilometer two-lane bridge will connect the municipality of Tubod, Lanao del Norte and Tangub City in Misamis Occidental and reduce travel time between the two places to only about seven minutes.

Panguil Bay Bridge is one of the priority projects in Northern Mindanao considered as one of the major strategic interventions particularly in providing access, logistics and infrastructure services toward the attainment of inclusive growth. Once completed, it will provide uninterrupted access from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities to Tangub, Oroquieta and Ozamiz cities and the rest of Zamboanga Peninsula. It will also enhance agricultural development and industrialization along the Cagayan-Iligan Corridor and the Tubod-Tangub-Ozamiz-Oroquieta growth areas.

Acting RDC-X Chair and NEDA-X Director Leon M. Dacanay, Jr. and RDC-X InfraCom Co-Chair, Engr. Modesto C. Babaylan were joined by Congressman Imelda Q. Dimaporo of the First District of Lanao del Norte and Mayor Nelieta Q. Noval of the municipality of Tubod, Lanao del Norte (for Tubod-Lanao del Norte side); Congressman Henry S. Oaminal of the 2nd District of Misamis Occidental, Governor Herminia Ramiro of Misamis Occidental, Mayor Philip T. Tan of Tangub City, and Mayor Reynaldo O. Parojinog, Sr of Ozamiz City (for Tangub City-Misamis Occidental side).

The team also had a pre-meeting discussion focused on resolving road-right-of-way issues with Congressman Jorge T. Almonte of the 1st District of Misamis Occidental and Mayor Maria Luisa D. Romualdo of Mambajao, Camiguin, Chair of the RDC-X Macro & Development Administration Committee.

The RDC officials and Congressional representatives present strongly articulated and signified their commitment and support for the realization of the much-awaited bridge project.

Beauty, power in city of majestic waterfalls

By Rex Godinez Ortega
Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 14, 2014

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines—In a city with 23 waterfalls on its list—some say it’s actually 30—it would not come as a surprise if yet another is added to the number.

Iligan, also called the City of Majestic Waterfalls, has one other that many say could rival its premier attraction, the legendary Maria Cristina Falls that supplies 70 percent of Mindanao’s electricity.

The little-known 265-meter, two-tiered Limunsudan Falls is tucked in a vast mountainous and forested area that not many Iliganons know of, much less considered as a travel destination because of its remoteness. It is located at Barangay (village) Rogongon, roughly 55 kilometers from downtown Iligan.

It would probably be safe to say that generally speaking, only members of the Higaunon tribe, who call the 35,555-hectare Barangay Rogongon home, may have seen or are familiar with Limunsudan Falls.

Reaching the falls requires either a two-day trek across jungles or a five-hour circuitous drive that takes one to Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental province, then to Talakag in Bukidnon province, and then back to Iligan in Lanao del Norte.

Limunsudan is said to be the second-tallest waterfall in the country. The record for the tallest has been given to Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental province. However, Aliwagwag Falls is, in reality, just a long series of 84 “steps” whose cumulative height reaches 338 meters.

Limunsudan, on the other hand, has two, and not to mention, huge free-flowing vertical drops. In fact, each of Limunsudan’s tiers is taller than the mighty 98-meter Maria Cristina Falls.

The comparison with the wondrous Maria Cristina Falls cannot be avoided: Its beauty and power are two attributes that may very well describe Limunsudan.

Awesome potential

Truth to tell, after a “waterfaller” (those who love viewing waterfalls) manages to get over the initial shock at the beauty and grandeur of Limunsudan Falls, he is likely to ponder on its awesome potential in terms of generating power.

The might of the Maria Cristina Falls, which has been harnessed by engineers through the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant in Iligan City, has been estimated to have a capacity of around 200 megawatts. But if an engineer were to stand before Limunsudan Falls, it would be fairly easy for him to see how easily it could rack up that same figure, and even much more.

Many Iliganons today already feel it is ridiculous for them to be paying so much for electricity with Maria Cristina Falls right in their midst.

This is even more relevant now when the threat of a power crisis looms in Mindanao and it would be difficult to ignore all that untapped natural and clean source of energy just sitting there untouched.

However, Limunsudan’s days as a hidden natural wonder appear to be numbered.

According to Wilma Sihag Soong Wade-Bado of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Provincial Office here, a hydropower company has already conducted a feasibility study on its potential.

Wade-Bado, a descendant of a Higaunon princess from Rogongon, said the company is in the process of securing a Free Prior Informed Consent from the Higaunons. Getting this certificate is required by law since it involves the lumad Higaunon’s ancestral domain.

Major throwback

The lack of good roads to Limunsudan Falls serves as the major drawback to waterfallers and those seeking to harness its power. Complicating matters would be the very real threat of armed men who are sighted crossing the jungles from time to time.

In fact, when the author, together with several others, visited the waterfalls several years ago via the Talakag route, one such group we encountered on a lonely dirt road tried to shoot us.

Trips to Limunsudan Falls still remain a security concern up to this day, and visitors are advised not to go to the area without military or police

But for waterfallers who ignore the lack of a road network and threats to life and limb, the experience of seeing Limunsudan can be a thrill of a lifetime.

When the falls made it to the list of top 10 highest Philippine waterfalls, Iligan, formerly referred to as the City of Waterfalls, became known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls.

North Cotabato road project seen to cut travel time

May 9, 2014
Louie O. Pacardo

KORONADAL — A road project in North Cotabato is expected to cut down travel time between the towns of Carmen and Banisilan by 45 minutes, or about two hours, from the usual three hours.

he P50-million project will connect the two towns through a 14-kilometer highway from Barangay Malapag, Carmen, to Barangay Tinimbakan, Banisilan, North Cotabato Governor Emmylou T. Mendoza told local media.

The new road, to be completed in one year’s time, is part of the Banisilan-Bukidnon road network that connects North Cotabato to Bukidnon and other provinces in Northern Mindanao.

Ms. Mendoza said that the new road is essential to the province’s and Soccsksargen’s trade and commerce.

She also said that travel between Carmen and Banisilan will soon become faster and more convenient.

North Cotabato produces high-value crops like banana, rubber, coffee, rice and corn, the surpluses of which are supplied to other regions in Mindanao.

Mindanao power crisis: Crime spike tied to brownouts

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Police are seeing a link between the power shortage that is gripping this city and other parts of Mindanao and a spike in the number of crimes in areas plagued by outages that last up to more than seven hours a day.

In this city alone, Senior Supt. Vicente Danao Jr., city police chief, said the number of crimes that police have recorded has increased by 45 percent, or nearly half, in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year.

The city and other parts of Mindanao started to be plagued by brownouts in March as a result of a shortage in electricity that was made worse by the reduced output of two hydropower facilities—Angus and Pulangi—that supply 60 percent of Mindanao’s power.

Danao said by March, when the outages started being more frequent and longer, police started to record at least 58 crimes a day up from the 32 crimes reported daily in the same period last year.

He said in the first three months of the year alone, 4,000 crimes have been committed mostly against persons and property.

Danao said he believed the rotating brownouts are to blame for the spike in crimes.

For instance, he said, the outages are rendering CCTV cameras, which help in crime prevention and investigation, useless.

“Zero visibility,” said Danao. “You cannot see in the dark even if you have a generator,” he added.

He said police had to resort to extra effort, like increased visibility, to fill the gap that anticrime measures being crippled by the outages have left.

“I myself go on patrol,” said Danao.

Col. Casiano Monilla, head of the anticrime Task Force Davao, said soldiers, too, have been deployed to strategic areas in the city to help police fight crime amid the brownouts.

He said 17 members of the task force are to roam the city aboard motorcycles as a crime prevention measure.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the city government plans to hire at least 1,000 watchmen to help law enforcers keep peace and order.

Each watchman would be paid P6,000 per month and get training on peacekeeping, said Duterte. They may also be issued firearms, he said.

“We have to give them more police power,” said the mayor.

In Cotabato City, police and military authorities said they were also bracing for a surge in criminality, particularly kidnappings, because of the outages.

“This is a united effort to quell lawlessness and terrorism that may occur at night while we are experiencing brownouts,” said Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division.

Hermoso said Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, Cotabato City police chief, agreed to conduct weekly meetings on the anticrime campaign to keep authorities updated.

Ramil Masukat, head of the Radio Emergency Communication Network (Recon), an anticrime watchdog, said his group would help authorities fight crime in Cotabato City.

Recon members are armed with VHF radios that they can use to report crimes, he said.

The outages are also disrupting the ongoing registration of new voters in Kidapawan City, which is being plagued by up to six hours of brownouts daily.

Diosdado Javier, Kidapawan election officer, said the outages are slowing the processing of voter applications.

Javier said his office has requested for a generator from the Commission on Elections main office in Manila but there has been no response yet.

Reports from Allan Nawal, Williamor Magbanua, Charlie Señase and Eldie Aguirre, Inquirer Mindanao