DPWH earmarks P55.5 B for tourism infra projectsBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Public Works and Highways plans to spend P55.5 billion in the next four years on infrastructure projects in support of the Department of Tourism’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign.
This year, the DPWH has allocated P11.95 billion for the DPWH-DOT “tourism infrastructure” program, where the DPWH is tasked to provide access roads to DOT-identified tourist destinations nationwide, as well as repair existing national or local roads leading to tourist spots.
In 2014, the project will get a total funding of P13.15 billion, then P14.4 billion the following year and P15.9 billion in 2016.
The DPWH said in a report that it spent P1.39 billion and P7.92 billion on the program in 2011 and 2012.
This year, Luzon was allocated a total of P5.64 billion while the Visayas and Mindanao would get P2.38 billion and P3.83 billion, respectively.
In Luzon, the allocations for the following regions are as follows: Cordillera Administrative Region, P1.01 billion; Region 1, P530 million; Region 2, P242 million; Region 3, P600 million; Region 4-A, P1 billion; Region 4-B, P1 billion; and Region 5, P1.25 billion.
In the Visayas, Region 6 will get P1.05 billion while Regions 7 and 8 have allocations of P696 million and P632 million.
In Mindanao, funding for Regions 9 to 13 is P394 million, P781 million, P1.49 billion, P407 million, and P752 million, respectively.
The latest Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum said more than 93 percent of barangay roads nationwide, as well as nearly 69 percent and 66 percent of provincial and national roads, respectively, were still unpaved.
But despite these unfavorable road conditions, the WEF noted a slight improvement in the quality of roads in the Philippines.
On a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being extremely underdeveloped and 7 extensive and efficient by global standards, roads in the country scored 3.4 in the 2012-2013 period, a 0.3 increase from 3.1 in 2011-2012. Philippine roads scored 2.8 in 2010-2011.
The DPWH acknowledged that the country was lagging behind many of its neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in terms of quality of infrastructure and, in particular, the quality of roads.
But with a four-year road improvement budget of over P106 billion, Singson has expressed confidence the country’s ranking would improve before the end of President Aquino’s term in June 2016.
Between 2010 and 2012, the agency spent nearly P50 billion for the pavement of national arterial and secondary roads all over the country.
In January, Singson asked DPWH engineers and other agency field personnel not to lose sight of their “target outcomes for the period 2012 to 2016.”
This year, the department “will continue to pursue the full pavement of national arterial roads and secondary roads by 2014 and 2016, respectively,” he said.
The DPWH “will also focus on the upgrading of bridges into permanent structures by 2016.”
Singson said the improvement of the quality and safety of the national road infrastructure was “one of the DPWH priorities.”
“An indicative estimate of the national road network asset, which provides the connectivity to all Filipinos for their economic and social activities, is valued at P1.2 trillion. As such, the President has directed the DPWH to ensure that the quality and safety of the national road network are upgraded and maintained properly,” he said.
The DPWH head added, “budgetary support until 2016 is intended to achieve the DPWH’s key targets.”