BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) disclosed at least seventy one percent of primary, secondary and tertiary national roads in the different parts of the region have already been concreted as of the end of last year following huge investments infused by the government to improve the state of the national roads nationwide.
Engr. Albert Gahid, DPWH-CAR assistant regional director, said as of last year, there were around 2,228 kilometers of national roads regionwide and only more than 1,589 kilometers representing 70.94 percent of concreted national roads compared to the 62.7 percent of concreted roads in 2014 which is equivalent to 1,385.4 kilometers paved roads out of the 2,207.62 kilometers declared national roads.
“By the end of this year, we are confident that we will concrete 91 percent of the total roads in the region by the end of this year which will make it more convenient to travel around the region and easier for both the motoring and commuting public,” Gahid stressed.
He added the agency expects the continuous increase in the length of national roads regionwide in the coming years because of the conversion of provincial roads to national roads initiated by lawmakers from the different provinces wanting most of their roads to be declared as national roads in order to avail of bigger fund allocations for the improvement of their road networks.
According to him, the Cordillera is lagging behind the Ilocos Region and the Cagayan Valley in terms of paved national roads with the two regions recording a 97 and 92 percent paved national roads, respectively, while the national average of concrete roads is 88 percent.
Earlier, the previous administration committed by the end of June 2016, 100 percent of the national roads shall have been concreted while 80 percent of the country’s secondary national arterial roads shall have also been paved with the increased budget allocations programmed for the public works department over a 5-year period.
Gahid claimed the agency was able to achieve a 100 percent paving of primary national roads, and their attention now will be focused on the concreting of secondary national arterial roads where only 86 percent of the said type of roads were concreted as of last year and tertiary national arterial roads where a meagre 54 percent of such type of roads was paved as of the end of 2015.
Before the implementation of increased fund allocation for national roads in 2012, the length of national roads that were concreted was at a very low 41.7 percent. The percentage of paved national roads increased to over 46 percent by the end of 2012 and jumped to around 54 percent in 2013.
Gahid revealed that the agency is hopeful of continuous funding for the improvement of national roads as the present administration is embarking on rural infrastructure as one of its 10-point agenda for growth and development.