2nd extension of Samar Pacific Coastal Road project sought


TACLOBAN CITY - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is reviewing the proposal to re-extend the construction of the nearly PHP1 billion foreign-funded Samar Pacific Coastal Road project.

From the revised completion target of Dec. 31, 2021, the proposal approved by the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC), is to extend the completion date of the foreign-funded project to June 30, 2022.

"Originally slated to be finished by March 12, 2020, only 45 percent of the work was finished as of January this year. The project was previously extended until December 31, 2021 but the slow rate of work due to the weather meant that the deadline will not be feasible," NEDA Eastern Visayas Regional Director Bonifacio Uy said in a phone interview Thursday.

Citing monitoring reports, Uy said the frequent heavy rains in the area have stopped construction for weeks.

As of January 2021, project slippage was at negative 19.088 percent.

Slippage is the difference between the actual accomplishment versus the target accomplishment in a particular period.

The RDC endorsed the proposed extension to the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee in early May for deliberation in June.

The Korean-funded project, which started in May 2018, has been delayed also by movement restrictions brought about by coronavirus disease 2019 and frequent typhoons.

The contractor reported that since they started the project two years ago, 11 typhoons have hit the site, causing long delays in the implementation last year.

The sudden unavailability of aggregates from its source in Ormoc City also contributed to the delay since the city government banned the extraction of sand and gravel in February citing environmental impacts.

It was in May 2018 when Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man led the project’s groundbreaking ceremony in Northern Samar.

Shortly after, DPWH officials had expressed confidence in its timely completion, citing the foreign contractors’ capability and lessons learned from past projects in Samar Island.

Ilsung Construction is a giant firm in Korea engaged in the construction of residential buildings, education facilities, public buildings, and commercial buildings, roads, railways, subways, industry complexes, and green belts.

The PHP997.50-million road project, funded through a loan from the South Korean government, will open an 11.6-kilometer two-lane road, and build three bridges.

The project, which begins at the Simora junction in Laoang and Palapag towns, traverses the remote villages of Laoang, Catubig, and Palapag.

To reach the capital town of Catarman, residents of Palapag and three other Pacific towns -- Mapanas, Gamay, and Lapinig-- need to cross a river twice through a pump boat ride.

From the port in Pangpang village in Palapag town, travelers need to cross a river to Calomotan village of Laoang, then take a boat ride to the port in the town center, and ride another pump boat to cross the river going to Rawis village. (PNA)

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