Benguet wants part of Kennon road task force

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet  – Provincial officials asserted they need to be included as representatives of the provincial government in the inter-agency Kennon Road Task Force to ensure that relevant issues and concerns on the condition of the road and the welfare of the people living in the communities along the 34-kilometer roadline will be properly ventilated.

Board member Nestor Fongwan, Jr. asserted the provincial government and Rep. Nestor B. Fongwan, Sr. remain firm in pushing for the re-opening of Kennon road to light vehicles for the benefit of both the residents living in the long-established communities and motorists going in and out of Baguio city.

He pointed out what is important is for the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) to fastrack the completion of ongoing infrastructure projects and avoid disturbing the stable slopes to prevent the current situation from worsening and allow the road to be opened to light vehicles similar to what had been done in the past.

The president of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) Benguet chapter called on the inter-agency task force to also consider the proposal of residents to open the roadline to vehicular traffic during the dry season and decide on its closure during the rainy season to ensure that the livelihood, employment and the education of the people living in the established communities will not be fully compromised.

“We hope the task force will consider our proposal for the inclusion of representatives from the provincial government as members so we can air the issues and concerns that need to be addressed, especially when it concerns the welfare of the people living along the stretch of the road and the motorists,” Fongwan stressed.

Earlier, the provincial board held a public hearing on a proposed resolution authored by board member Fongwan for the re-opening of Kennon road to end the over-a-year suffering by the residents of villages along the road line who had been deprived of their livelihood due to the prolonged closure of the roadline due to its alleged unstable condition.

According to him, numerous students were forced to stop schooling and many workers were also forced to resign from work because they were always late in their classes and work due to the difficulty of going in and out of Kennon road following its temporary closure to vehicular traffic over a year ago.

Fongwan claimed even the tourism industry of Baguio City has been affected because of the closure of Kennon road as tourists do not want to be trapped in the monstrous traffic congestions along Marcos highway and other roads leading to the city proper, thus, they opt to go to other places in the lowlands to spend their well-deserved break.

He opined the provincial board is inclined to approve the pending resolution requesting concerned government agencies and members of the inter-agency task force to immediately open Kennon road for humanitarian and practical reasons because thousands of people living along the roadline are suffering from its prolonged closure and they should not suffer more due to the indefinite road closure.

By HENT

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