The Australian government formally handed over to the province of Aklan approximately P12.6 million worth of equipment, software and vehicles used for the rehabilitation of roads in the province, bringing Australian road works investments there to a total of P90.2 million, including capacity development and actual physical works.
The handover included three provincial road sections that had recently been rehabilitated: Malinao – Madalag Road; Cabangila—Angas—Palay—Camanci—Napti Road; and Makato—Calangcang—Agcawilan—Silakat Nonok—San Ramon—Banay-Banay Malinao.
“We appreciate the assistance that the Australian Government —through the PRMF—has extended to Aklan, not just for the rehabilitation of our roads but also in helping develop better local capacity in managing and maintaining these roads, which are the backbone of commerce and community in our province,” said Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores during the ceremonial handover.
The physical works investment of P53.6 million resulted to a total of 29.19 kms. of roads rehabilitated, while 28.15 km. had undergone maintenance. Included also in the Australian investment was more than P24 million in capacity development that focused on improving provincial government systems and a range of governance reforms.
The Australian assistance was made possible through the Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF), a six-year (2009 to 2015), AUD 81 million-development cooperation initiative between the Governments of the Philippines and Australia.
Through the PRMF, in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Australia is helping provincial governments improve their systems and initiate reforms that will enhance capabilities in road management and maintenance over time. Seven provinces in Mindanao and three in the Visayas are benefiting from the facility. Aklan entered the program in 2012.
Although Aklan has only been in the program for three years, it quickly implemented improvements. These already include: community-based maintenance contracting (CBMC); better tax revenue assessment and collections system through e-TRACs; the establishment of the Aklan Provincial Internal Audit Office (APIAO); development and implementation of a Human Resource Management Information System (HRIS); expansion of Human Resource Development planning; and improved capacity in the Provincial Engineering Office towards detailed engineering design, construction supervision and contract management; amongst many other reforms.
The PRMF has also been working with the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), the DILG, and the Department of Budget Management (DBM) to encourage implementation of a national program to fund Local Road Management (LRM). The LPP proposal, called KALSADA, will initially provide a PHP6.5 billion performance-based budget that has been included in the 2016 National Expenditure Plan (NEP). This already has passed Congress and is currently awaiting approval by the Senate. The NEP also has provided the DILG with P74 million for capacity building in support of KALSADA implementation in 2016.