Province targets major infra projects for 2018

The city government is planning to create a diversion canal near the Acacia Tunnel (file photo)

The construction of three cruise ports, the six-lane superhighway, and regional airports are some of the big ticket projects that the Palawan provincial government said it is set to fully implement with national line agencies in 2018.

Provincial Information Office (PIO) chief Gil Acosta Jr. said Tuesday that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which has started the superhighway project in the southern part of the province in 2017, is now consulting with the provincial government on what to do with the controversial “Acacia Tunnel” in the outskirts of Puerto Princesa City.

“What we’re looking out is four lanes in Acacia Tunnel and two lanes on the other route. Possibly, if you’re going to Aborlan from Puerto Princesa, that would be on the left side,” he said.

Per aerial survey conducted by the province, Acacia trees on the right side are thicker than those on the left side.

The project became controversial after environmentalists decried the destruction of rows of old-growth Acacia trees in the national highway going to southern Palawan.

“There is a budget from the national government, but it’s in parts. If I am not mistaken, approximately P3 billion per district,” he said, in conjunction with the Buliluyan Port roll-on, roll-off project.

Three cruise ports are up to begin this year too, in Puerto Princesa, in either Coron, El Nido, or Taytay in the northern side of the province, and in southern Palawan.

“In the city, it was proposed earlier to be in Barangay Liwanag at the back of the NBI (National Bureau of Intelligence),” he revealed.

The initial budget is estimated to be around P500 million, which will be managed for implementation by the DPWH and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

“This was planned a long time ago, and the fund has been lodged in the DPWH. The three congressmen of Palawan made an assessment of what to do with it, and they agreed with DPWH and PPA already for implementation,” Acosta added.

Regional airports are also seen to start this year in the southern town of Brooke’s Point and Taytay, as he said Governor Jose Alvarez wants access to be established in strategic areas in the province.

“He (Governor Alvarez) wants to have small airports, too, in every municipality in the province that can accommodate C-130 aircrafts. The ultimate reason for this is for humanitarian responses when there are calamities, and of course, bring tourism access to municipalities that have natural sites to show,” he said.

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