>BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The national government earmarked at least P3.4 billion this year to continuously rehabilitate the various national roads and bridges located in the various parts of the region as part of its commitment to develop infrastructure in less developed areas in the country to help spur economic development.
Engineer Deliberate Carabbacan, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) director, said P3.13 billion will be utilized for the rehabilitation of roads contained in 62 projects while over P269 million was allocated by the department for the upgrading of 10 identified critical bridges in the different parts of the region.
Out of the amount earmarked for rehabilitation of roads, Kalinga got the lion’s share: with P975.6 million, followed by Abra with P537.7 million, Second Benguet engineering district – P375.6 million; Baguio City – P348.4 million; Mountain Province – P337.8 million; First Benguet engineering district – P283.1 million; Second Apayao engineering district – P127.7 million; Second Ifugao Engineering district – P65 million; First Apayao engineering district – 62.5 million; and First Ifugao Engineering District – P30.5 million.
According to Carabbacan, the funds will be utilized to address critical bottlenecks along major national roads, traffic congestion, improve accessibility to tourist destinations, preservation and protection of national roads from rapid deterioration, preventive maintenance of secondary national arterial roads, rehabilitation, reconstruction of damaged portions and upgrading from gravel to concrete in accordance to standards as prescribed in the analysis done for the purpose.
Based on available records, the allocation provided by the national government for the Cordillera this year is over 25 percent higher compared to the P2.8 billion included in last year’s budget as part of the agency’s regular infrastructure funds, exclusive of the remaining balance for the P5.2 billion State of the Nation Address (SONA) projects which had a three-year multi-year obligation.