'Road-to-nowhere' project seeks additional P414M fund for 2021 | Inquirer News

‘Road-to-nowhere’ project seeks additional P414M fund for 2021

/ 01:51 PM November 11, 2020

(Updated: 5:05 p.m., Nov. 11, 2020)

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson discovered that a road infrastructure project leading to “nowhere” has a P414.5-million requested allocation under the proposed 2021 national budget.


During the Senate plenary debates on the proposed budget on Wednesday, Lacson flagged the construction of the Eastern Interior Bypass Road in Cagayan de Oro City, which has already cost the government around P1.3 billion from 2015 to 2020.


“I questioned this particular project in 2017 because the right-of-way issue has not been resolved. It was my argument at that time that we should first resolve the right-of-way issues before we even fund the construction,” Lacson said.

The senator said his office talked with the regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways, who said that the project is no longer “viable or feasible.”

“We talked to the regional director ang sabi niya hindi na naging vioable or feasible yung paggawa ng tunnel. So abandoned,” Lacson said.

(We talked to the regional director and he said that the project is no longer viable or feasible. It’s abandoned.)

“Maga-appropriate pa ba tayo ulit ng P414 million after spending P1.3 billion for a project that is no longer feasible?” he added.

(Should we appropriate another P414 million after spending P1.3 billion for a project that is no longer feasible?)


Lacson said his team flew a drone over the area of the project.

“It’s facing a dike….Sabi niya (regional director) Mukhang hindi rin feasible. Sabi niya ’We will have to fix the dike first.’ If that doesn’t reflect poor planning, I don’t know what is,” he added.

(It’s facing a dike. The regional director said it’s no longer feasible. He said we will need to fix the dike first. If that doesn’t reflect poor planning, I don’t know what is.)

‘Spot the difference’

Further, Lacson pointed out that from January 2019 to October 2020, there seems to be no visible change in the project.

“We went back just last month… Kindly spot the difference,” Lacson told his colleagues.

“In case you haven’t noticed, some of the staff branded it the road to nowhere kasi wala talagang pupuntahan [it will really lead to nowhere]…Naging white elephant,” he added.

Other road projects

Lacson also pointed to the Guicadale Road Network to Bicol International Airport (Manawan-Kinuartilan Section) in Albay, which received appropriations amounting to P10 million in 2020.

Some P1 million is proposed for the project under the 2021 budget, according to the senator.

“How much would one kilometer of road cost? In Bicol, the cost is P25 million for a two-lane one-kilometer road. If we give P1 million to this project only 40 meters of the road will be built,” he said.

“Is it wise to appropriate P1 million just to construct a 40-linear meter road for this project? Parang hindi [I don’t think so],” he added.

The access road leading to Lidong Seaport in Albay also caught the attention of the senator.

He said this project received a P20-million funder in 2020 and seeking an additional P2 million under the 2021 budget.

“We were told Lidong Seaport is privately owned. So why would government spend tapos ginagamit daw ang seaport sa quarrying ng Chinese? Kayo na bahala humusga [You be the judge],” he added.

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Before this, he also flagged several infrastructure projects—which remain unfinished despite it receiving millions of funding in the past years—seeking additional funding under the 2021 budget.

Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, said he would be open to amendments to realign budget requests for such “skeleton” projects.

“Maybe we give the project proponents, the agencies tasked to implement these projects, to give them a chance to respond,” Angara also said.

TAGS: 2021 budget, Nation, News, Road projects

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