• Govt to spend P6.5B for provincial roads

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    The government will be spending P6.5 billion to rehabilitate and upgrade roads in 73 provinces this year, the Budget department said.

    The 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) allocation, in particular, will be used for the KALSADA or Konkreto at Ayos na Lansangan at Daan Tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran program, described as “an innovative devolution program that aims to institutionalize good governance by enabling and shepherding local government units (LGUs) on local road management.”

    The Budget department said the program would involve the rehabilitation and upgrading of provincial roads and their permanent transfer to provincial governments, which then have the responsibility of maintaining the assets.

    The program will also develop a Provincial Road Network Development Plan for each province and promote the use of an online open data portal as a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the roads.

    Covered provinces are those who have met good governance standards and social development benchmarks and have also established monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

    The provinces were selected based on their compliance with the Interior and Local Government department’s Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping and submission to the Budget department of their Local Public Financial Management Assessment Reports.

    The agency said allocations were determined by a combination of performance and needs criteria, such as inclusion in the list of Budget Priorities Framework provinces, utilization and completion of local road projects under the Special Local Roads Fund as well as regular appropriation and use of maintenance funds for local roads.

    The P6.5-billion fund is broken down per province based on a formula that considers their performance and need scores.

    A monitoring and evaluation system will ensure that the upgrading and rehabilitation of the roads will be completed, the Budget department said.

    Geo-tagging will be used for reporting on the status of the projects under a system created in collaboration with the World Bank and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    Through the Open Roads Portal, the public can check which roads have been selected for rehabilitation or upgrading and track the progress of the project from start to completion.

    The portal will contain provincial road network maps as well as videos of road conditions before, during, and after the implementation of KALSADA.

    The Budget department said the KALSADA program would increase the provinces’ ability to bring their road networks to sustainably-maintainable conditions by incorporating both public financial management and technical criteria developed by the Local Governments department through the Philippine Provincial Road Management Facility, an earlier reform program aimed at improving the way provincial governments plan, budget for and maintain local infrastructure.

    “The KALSADA program gives weight to the words ‘meaningful devolution.’ The National Government will provide capital funding to offset road asset depreciation even as LGUs rehabilitate long-neglected provincial roads. With LGUs delivering basic services more effectively by planning and managing their resources more efficiently, we’re able to fully utilize the budget to attain inclusive growth,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

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