BAGUIO CITY: President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Public Works Secretary Mark Villar to source funds for the completion of some P5.2 billion worth of infrastructure projects in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Villar was given the order at the close of the Cordillera leaders’ meeting with Duterte in Malacañang recently.
Earlier, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, chairman of the CAR Regional Development Council and the Regional Peace and Order Council in the Cordillera, reported to the President that there are still more than 138.3 kilometers of unpaved national and local roads in the region, impeding smooth transport of goods within and outside the region.
Of the unpaved roads, Domogan said 93.3 kilometers are national roads located in the provinces of Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Ifugao and Mountain Province while 45 kilometers are classified as local roads.
He added that the priority projects were identified under the Cordillera Roads Improvement Project (CRIP), the blueprint for the development of major roads and bridges in the different parts of CAR.
The President told the visiting Cordillera leaders and officials of government line agencies to closely coordinate with Villar for the inclusion of the projects in the priority programs of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the coming years.
Villar said some of the listed projects have already been included for funding in the 2018 proposed national budget while the DPWH is trying to work out the sources of money for the unfunded projects or the list of projects will be included in the 2019 annual budget of the Duterte administration.
Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan, former chairman of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways, said more infrastructure projects in the region must be given priority to help improve inter-municipality, inter-provincial and inter-regional linkages for the immediate transport of goods from farms to markets.
He added that construction of roads in the Cordillera has been pegged at P40 million per kilometer, inclusive of the appropriate drainage systems and slope protection walls, compared to the P25 million needed to build roads in the lowlands that will connect remote communities of the region.
The CRIP was hatched in the early 1990s to serve as one of the bases for government agencies and local governments in making a priority the development of major national roads, secondary national arterial roads and local roads.