“Bridge of Peace” breaks ground in Mamasapano
Cotabato City (31 March 2015) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is set to replace the wooden footbridge found in Barangay Tukanalipao – the site of the 25 January Mamasapano incident – with a steel one and build an 880m access road connecting it to the main highway to facilitate the movement of people and agricultural products in the area.
The groundbreaking rites for the P7.5-million access road and the 120m, P10-million steel bridge were held on Tuesday. The event brought together officials from the government, military, business sector and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), lending credence to the bridge project’s moniker “bridge of peace”.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the infrastructure projects should help residents overcome the scars left by the January 25 incident and facilitate the agricultural development of Mamasapano.
He also announced the realignment of at least P10-million worth of livelihood projects under ARMM’s Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance, and Synergy (HELPS) project to Barangay Tukanalipao that is being worked out with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
ARMM will invest around P77-million in various infrastructure projects to help address the development needs of identified communities in Mamasapano.
Aside from the steel bridge and access road, the region’s Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will also put up nine school buildings and eight water and sanitation facilities.
Von Al-Haq, spokesman of MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, welcomed the rehabilitation of the bridge and the other development projects of the ARMM.
He said the MILF is a “pro-development organization” and they welcome projects designed to improve conditions in the Bangsamoro areas.
For his part, General Gregorio Pio Catapang, AFP chief of staff, said: “Wala ng all-out offensive. Pauwiin na natin ang ating mga kababayan sa kanilang mga tahanan. Ibuhos natin ang proyekto sa Maguindanao at karatig pook. Let us move on at paunlarin natin ang ating bayan, magkaroon tayo ng kapayapaan.” (Bureau of Public Information)