Quezon City: I thank RDC for its role in the upgrading of our roads, said Apayao Congresswoman Eleanor Begtang during the special meeting of the RDC ExCom last December 7, 2011 at the Sulo Hotel here.

Three major road networks in this northernmost province of the region were recently upgraded from secondary roads to primary roads by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) after much work by the RDC and its NEDA secretariat; the Apayao provincial government; and the regional DPWH.

The upgrading means the roads namely Ilocos Norte-Apayao Road (from Ilocos Norte Boundary, Solsona to Kabugao); Kabugao-Conner-Abbut Road (from Kabugao to Junction Abbut); and Kabugao-Pudtol-Luna Road are given priority by the national DPWH.

In a memorandum to DPWH-CAR, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson stated that the Ilocos Norte-Apayao Road; and the Kabugao-Conner-Abbut Road are now priority projects.

Prior to upgrading the roads, the following series of meetings had been conducted:
  • September 17, 2010: The RDC ExCom approved the conduct of RDC dialogue with Honorable Secretary Rogelio L. Singson of DPWH to discuss infrastructure concerns of the region through RDC ExCom Resolution No. CAR-83. The RDC-CAR and DPWH-CAR had been setting earlier schedules but it was difficult for the DPWH secretary to make the appropriate time.
  • August 5, 2011: A meeting of RDC officials with DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson was held at the DPWH-CAR Conference Hall. The RDC Co-Chairman Dr. Virgilio Bautista presented the Tabuk-Conner-Kabugao-Calanasan-Solsona Road as the next priority road of CAR. This was an off-shoot of a 2010 RDC ExCom resolution confirmed by the RDC EnBanc that a dialogue be done with the Secretary of DPWH to discuss infrastructure concerns of the region. In the meeting, Secretary Singson made commitment to fund the road for as long as the province will ensure there are no Road Right of Way problems and the regional DPWH will conduct a parcellary survey.
  • August 10, 2011: Meeting by RDC officials and Apayao provincial officials was held at the Baguio Country Club to share the result of meeting with the secretary and plan on actions that the province and DPWH-CAR will do. In this meeting Dir. Edilberto Carabbacan of DPWH-CAR said that some sections of the Claveria-Calanasan-Kabugao and the Ilocos Norte-Apayao Road (Solsona-Kabugao-Calanasan) must have to be opened first before these maybe converted to national roads in which the Apayao I and II Engineering Districts must pool a 3.75 billion fund to open the gaps.
  • August 19, 2011: the Provincial Development Council of Apayao passed a resolution requesting RDC to endorse to Secretary Singson the upgrading of the Abbut-Conner-Kabugao Road and its inclusion together with the above mentioned road plus Claveria-Calanasan-Kabugao Road and Apayao (Calanasan)-Ilocos Norte Road as priority projects within the Cordillera Road Improvement Project (CRIP).  The province sent the resolution to Apayao Congressman Eleanor Begtang for her endorsement. In October 5, the NEDA secretariat received Begtang’s endorsement dated September 19, 2011.
  • October 26, 2011: The Infrastructure Development Committee discussed the resolution and decided to prepare a proposed resolution to RDC ExCom endorsing the PDC resolution to Secretary Singson.
  • November 3, 2011: The RDC ExCom met and passed RDC ExCom Resolution No. CAR-113, series 2011 endorsing the PDC resolution.

 In Secretary Singson’s memorandum, he also related the following basis for the upgrading 

  •  Ilocos Norte-Apayao Road (from Ilocos Norte Boundary, Solsona to Kabugao); and Kabugao-Conner-Abbut Road (from Kabugao to Junction Abbut) link three regional centers from Manila North Road at Laoag City to Kabugao to Daang Maharlika and end at Tuguegarao City.
  • Kabugao-Pudtol-Luna Road is now a continuous road and satisfies the definition of Primary National Road which has three categories namely North-South Backbone (main trunkline from Northernmost Luzon down to Southern Mindanao interconnecting the major islands); East West Lateral (roads traversing to backbone and across the islands and about 100 kms. apart; and direct access to important centers and other areas vital for regional development and emergencies); and National Roads (other roads which complement with the national arterial roads to provide access to other main population and production centers of the country). Kabugao-Pudtol-Luna Road belongs to the second category as it directs access to important centers and other areas vital for regional development and emergencies – Luna being a business growth center and the seat of the of the government of Apayao.

 The memorandum also explained that Claveria-Calanasan-Kabugao Road cannot be upgraded as it still has big gap between Calanasan and Kabugao and it also duplicates the function of Kabugao-Pudtol-Luna Road.