L – The Cordillera Roads Improvement Project (CRIP). R – Cabetian Junction of the Kabugao-Solsona Road.

When the Cordillera Administrative Region was created in 1987, only 20 percent of its national roads was paved.  Its provinces were not linked with one another, such that going from one province to the other requires passing through the adjacent regions. The DPWH-CAR reports that as of May 2018, 86 percent of the region’s national roads is already paved.  If all paving projects pipelined for 2018 are completed, CAR’s national roads will be 97 percent paved. Further, most of our provinces are now linked with one another and with the adjacent regions by concrete roads.

This is the result of the efforts of the Cordillera Regional Development Council which championed the Cordillera Roads Improvement Project or CRIP.

CRIP is the region’s banner infrastructure project that aims to establish a road backbone that would link all provincial and major growth centers in CAR.  It was in 1992 when NEDA-CAR initiated the preparation of a pre-feasibility study. Four years later, the DPWH Project Management Office conducted a full-blown feasibility study for CRIP.

The implementation of the Project took off with the La Trinidad- Mount Data section of Halsema Highway in 2001 and the Baguio-Aritao Improvement Projects in 2004. These were followed by the Bontoc-Tabuk Road Project and the Cervantes-Mankayan-Abatan Road implemented in 2008-2010 under PGMA’s SONA Projects.

In 2011, the Apayao segment of the CRIP came into fruition.  An offshoot of a dialogue between the RDC and then DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson in August of that year, the Kabugao-Pudtol-Luna-Cagayan Road now links the capital town of Kabugao and lower Apayao.  Prior to its completion, commuters had to pass through the circuitous, grueling 200-km five-hour route via Cagayan’s Maharlika Highway. Now, it only takes 1.5 hours to travel from Apayao to Ilocos Norte because there is no need to pass through Cagayan Valley via the Maharlika Highway.

The construction of the Kabugao-Solsona Road is now ongoing. Once an abandoned logging road during the Marcos era, this road now provides direct passage for people and products between the Ilocos and Cordillera Regions.

The Pre-Feasibility Study conducted on the CRIP in 1992 estimated the total project cost at Php 9,046.9 million. This amount involves the construction, paving and/or rehabilitation of an estimated 1,068 kilometers of road and 2,286 lineal meters of bridges.  DPWH reports that as of December 2017, only about 14 percent of the total targeted trunkline/lateral roads and 11.46 percent of the bridges are yet to be completed.

Indeed, through the CRIP and the relentless efforts of the Cordillera Regional Development Council, supported by the efforts and initiative of the Infrastructure Development Committee, the Cordillera Region is now getting closer than ever to its dream of becoming a truly physically integrated region.