South Cotabato’s 5 new farm-to-market roads, bridges to improve access, productivity

South Cotabato newly bridge
One of the five new farm-to-market roads opened for small scale farmers in Lake Sebu. Photo from DPWH Region XII.

South Cotabato’s five newly completed infrastructure projects are expected to improve access and productivity for small-scale farmers in Lake Sebu.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region 12 announced on January 13 the completion of farm-to-market roads (FMRs) worth Php150.9 million. The projects represent five of the six projects that are targeted to improve the agricultural productivity of small scale farmers in Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

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The DPWH reports that the finished projects covered at least 30 meters of bridges and 13.09 kilometers of farm-to-market roads.

These five infrastructure projects completed in December 2019 include two bridges and three farm-to-market roads:

  1. Sitio K’batang bridge (10 meters)
  2. Antual bridge (20 meters)
  3. Block 2-Antual-K’batang (6.96 kilometers)
  4. Tinugas-Lawaan (3.43 kilometers)
  5. Block 4-Seven Lakes roads (2.70 kilometers)

In development at the moment is the 9.20-kilometer Ned Proper-S’laban-K’batang Segment 1 road, a section slated to finish construction this month.

The chief of the region’s 2nd District Engineering Office, Engineer Khalil Sultan, has said that the projects would benefit the more remote barangays and areas of the province by providing them “safer, faster, and more convenient” transportation of goods to help enrich the agribusiness in the area.

This motive is unsurprising, as the funds of these projects were allocated from the Department of Agrarian Reform’s Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development Program (MinSAAD), whose objective is to promote farming and agriculture-related businesses to increase household income.

Last year, the DAR had partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to provide support services and infrastructure in Mindanao. Secretary John R. Castriciones had remarked that these projects would “not only make life easier for our farmers but also sustain the development of their communities.”

In a 2015 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, it was revealed that although Mindanao is a viable agriculture and resource hub, the limited market opportunities for agricultural laborers and lack of safe road access due to armed conflict or natural disasters made trading the more difficult led to slow agribusiness development in the area.

Besides Mindanao, there are other infrastructure projects in the country, including six of which are planned to reduce EDSA traffic by 20-30% by this year. There are hopes that the projects slated to finish in the following years would help alleviate congestion as well.

In the Metro Manila area, commuters are looking forward to the LRT 1-Cavite Extension Line, which would add eight more stops along the LRT-1 route. Already, news has been confirmed that the trains will arrive from Spain by July this year.

SEND WELL WISHES in the comments below to the farming community in Lake Sebu, North Cotabato as they welcome the new farm-to-market roads and bridges!

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Io is a high school student and amateur writer who tends to look at the future idealistically despite others' warnings. A book enthusiast, she wants to make her words substantial in this world and to lift up others with her work.