MANILA – The Samar Pacific Coastal Road is part of the seven flagship infrastructure projects targeted to be completed before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends on June 30.

A substantial portion of the project in Eastern Visayas is nearing completion even if frequent rains impede the construction progress, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said in a statement on Saturday.

Undersecretary and “Build, Build, Build” chief implementer Emil K. Sadain, in his inspection report to Secretary Roger G. Mercado, said workers have completely launched all the girders and started with formworks, rebars and paving deck slab of the 161-meter Simora Bridge which is a major component to open up a new 11.6-kilometer road in Northern Samar.

Sadain, who is in charge of DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations, expressed optimism that the Simora Bridge and Jangtud 1 Bridge will be open by June 2022.

Meanwhile, other flagship projects being eyed for completion include the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge under the Metro Manila Logistics Network; Flood Risk Management Project in Cagayan, Tagoloan and Imus Rivers; Department of Transportation’s LRT 2 Extension, Unified Grand Central Station, and Motor Vehicle Recognition and Enhancement System; and Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project in Cotabato of the National Irrigation Administration.

During the inspection, Sadain instructed the contractor Ilsung Construction Company Inc. in partnership with Pacific Concrete Products, to augment manpower, equipment, and materials resources; concentrate on workable sites, and identify activities that must be continued so as to expedite the work and minimize the effects of adverse weather.

The unusually wet weather makes more challenging the construction/improvement of the road that begins at the Simora Junction, Laoang, going to the remote communities of the Pacific towns of Laoang and Palapag.

The Samar Pacific Coastal Road is considered significant in reducing poverty, eradicating the problem of local armed conflict, and improving the economic situation in the area as a result of improved transport connectivity.

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.

Costing PHP997.50-million, the road project is funded through a loan agreement between the Philippines and the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund. (PR)