Agusan del Sur

Agusan del Sur’s infamous highway gets P3 billion in rehabilitation funds

Ivy Marie Mangadlao

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Agusan del Sur’s infamous highway gets P3 billion in rehabilitation funds

CRACKED. A car moves on a highway with extensive cracks along a stretch of the Daang Maharlika segment in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. courtesy of Erwin Mascarinas

courtesy of Erwin Mascarinas

Agusan del Sur gets 72% of the budget set aside for Caraga's Daang Maharlika

BUTUAN, Philippines – The Agusan del Sur section of the Maharlika Highway, which has drawn criticism from locals and motorists passing by due to its potholes and large cracks, has finally received a budget for rehabilitation this year.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said in a statement on March 6 that a total of P4.4 billion worth of road works are set as part of a year-long rehabilitation initiative along the Surigao-Agusan and Agusan-Davao Sections of Daang Maharlika within the Caraga region.

Of the total rehabilitation budget, P3.19 billion is allocated for Agusan del Sur, which accounts for 72.5%, the largest portion among the provinces covered by the Daang Maharlika in the region.

DPWH stated that the allocation of a significant portion of the budget for Agusan del Sur was made after a careful study and identification of priority sections of the Maharlika highway needing improvements, including 13 projects for the first district and 19 projects for the second district of the province.

The rest of the projects will cover the provinces of Agusan del Norte, with six projects worth P456.78 million; Surigao del Norte, with seven projects worth P519.91 million; and Butuan City, with three projects worth P273.45 million.

DPWH noted that the projects to be implemented are for preventive maintenance or asphalt overlaying to major repair and widening of roads and bridges, concrete reblocking, and installation of road safety measures such as pavement markings and signage.

DPWH-Caraga Director Pol Delos Santos said the projects, included in the 2024 General Appropriations Act, aim to improve the condition of the Daang Maharlika Road, which starts from Barangay Lipata in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, and ends in Barangay Langkilaan in Trento, Agusan del Sur.

“We are accelerating the pre-construction requirements of these projects with some having completed procurement activities and are ready for implementation. Once all requirements are in place, we will immediately commence construction works,” said Delos Santos.

Motorists’ complaints

Residents and drivers have jokingly called the highway “Sungkaan,” likening it to the traditional Filipino game, due to its potholes mirroring the pits found on a sungka board.

John Jayson Dalona, a resident of Santa Josefa, Agusan del Sur, complained that his frequent travels take long because of frequent flat tires, a situation not unfamiliar to other motorists passing through the road.

“This road problem has become a serious issue to the extent that it has become an identity of Agusan del Sur. People would say that a sign you’ve reached Agusan del Sur is when the bad road conditions start,” Dalona said.

Joan Cabusas, an operations clerk in a motorcycle company in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, who rides her motorcycle to work and often travels to Surigao and Davao for work-related trips, said it has been difficult for her to navigate the highway due to the poor condition of the road, and lack of road and traffic signs.

“If it’s true that the roads in Agusan del Sur will be repaired, there is much to be grateful for. After enduring a long period when we, as motorists, consistently faced challenging roads, it will be a relief for drivers every day to travel on a well-maintained and safe national highway.”

Agusan del Sur Governor Santiago Cane Jr. earlier said the national highway falls under the jurisdiction of the DPWH, not the provincial government.

He said he has been expressing his dissatisfaction since 2018, urging DPWH officials to work on improving the highway’s conditions.

Cane said the provincial government cannot utilize its funds for the national highway, as doing so would constitute misappropriation of funds, and that there is a national government entirely responsible for addressing issues related to it.

The Daang Maharlika segment of Agusan del Sur highway consists of 122 kilometers stretching from the towns of Sibagat to Trento.

Also known as the Pan-Philippine Highway, Daang Maharlika serves as a primary transport backbone in the Caraga region. –

Ivy Marie Mangadlao is a community journalist writing for Mindanews and an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow for 2023-2024.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!