The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) recently endorsed for funding and implementation 167 major road projects in the region in the next few years. Sixty-three (63) of these are under DTI-DPWH convergence program while 104 are under the DOT-DPWH convergence program. These were endorsed to the Secretaries of the DOT, DTI and DPWH by the Regional Development Council-CAR through Resolution No. 30 and 31 Series of 2017, during the RDC meeting in Bontoc, Mountain Province last April 7, 2017. These road programs are expected to contribute to an improved socio economic condition especially in the hinterlands of the Cordillera.
The DTI-DPWH Convergence Program is also called the Roads Leveraging Linkages of Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) Program. It is anchored to the country’s long term vision, “Ambisyon Natin 2040”, which envisions a predominantly middle-class society with enhanced standards of living, and aims to eradicate hunger and poverty. The 63 road project proposals in CAR under the DTI-DPWH convergence are distributed as follows: Abra – 7, Apayao – 14, Benguet – 7, Ifugao – 11, Kalinga – 13, and Mountain Province – 11.
Some of the major projects under the DTI – DPWH convergence program are; (a) Construction of Nagpaoayan-Mapisla Road to support the coffee industry in Licuan-Baay, Abra; (b) Improvement of Santa Maria–Mallig Road in support to the banana and handicraft, rice and corn and tourism Industries in Apayao; (c) Improvement of Baguio Bontoc Road JNR Gulweng-Nawal-Tikey-Daclan, Bokod with one bridge in Benguet; (d) Improvement/ Concreting of Bulanao-Paracelis Road Junction in Mallong, Cudal in support to the feed mill industry and processed food industry in Kalinga; and (e) Construction/ Improvement of Poblacion, Paracelis-Bantay-Buringal Road in support to the banana, cacao, corn and tourism industries of Paracelis, Mountain Province. These projects will link agricultural producing areas in the region to the market centers to decrease transportation cost thereby increasing income and reducing poverty especially among farmers.
The DOT-DPWH Convergence Program is also called the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP) and seeks to boost tourism infrastructure projects in priority tourist destination areas. These road projects aim to enhance access to tourism gateways, service centers and tourism sites in the Cordillera. This is also in support of the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP). The one hundred four (104) tourism road projects are distributed across provinces as follows: Abra – 10, Apayao – 4, Benguet – 24, Ifugao – 28, Kalinga – 16, and Mountain Province – 16, and Baguio City – 6.
Under the TRIP are two important projects leading to Mount Pulag National Park namely: (a) Construction and Improvement of Ballay-Tangan-Lusod Access Road costing Php 927 million, and (b) Construction and Improvement of Kaling Bridge – Lower Bashoy – Upper Babadak road costing Php 210 million pesos. The Mount Pulag National Park is the highest peak in Luzon and a favorite adventure tourist destination in the country. It provides the thrill of witnessing a beautiful sunrise above the clouds and on the peak of Mount Pulag aside from a rare glimpse of endangered species of flora (like the dwarf bamboo) and fauna (e.g., the cloud rat, kock’s pita, serpent eagle, Philippine deer, Philippine pig, etc.). (jc/nedacar)