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PIA Press Release

Governors chair infra monitoring and advisory groups for 3 CAR road projects

BAGUIO CITY (20 October) -- To facilitate the proper implementation and ensure the sustainability of large scale funded road projects in the region, three Infrastructure Monitoring and Advisory Groups(IMAGs) have been organized recently.

Elected in absentia to chair the IMAG for the on-going Halsema Highway Phases II and III road improvement is Mt. Province Governor Maximo Dalog with Ifugao Governor Teddy Baguilat as co- chair.

The IMAG for the Bontoc-Lubuagan-Tabuk Road is chaired by Kalinga Govenor Floydelia Diasen with Dalog as co- chairman.

With the Abatan-Mankayan Cervantes Road expected to start within the year, Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan was chosen to chair the IMAG for the Arterial Road Links Development Project V(ARDLP V-CAR Component) that also includes the Sabangan Cervantes Road. Co-chairman is Dalog.

The Department of Public Works and Highways(DPWH) Director is the vice chair in all the three IMAGs.

Aimed to directly involve the stakeholders in the project especially in the resolution of project related issues and to develop project ownership among the project beneficiaries, the IMAGs have for their members the congressmen of the concerned provinces, mayors of traversed municipalities, non-government organizations, project contractors, Regional Project Monitoring Council Chairman(RPMC), Infracom Chairman, the Department of Environment and Natural resources, DPWH regional and district offices and the Philippine Information Agency.

During the organizational meeting attended by mayors James Alunday of Lubuagan, Johnny Maymaya of Tinglayan, Franklin Odsey of Bontoc, and representatives from the local government units of Buguias and Mankayan, Benguet; Bauko and Sadanga, Mt. Prov; Pasil, Kalinga, representatives of Governors Fongwan, Dalog, Baguilat and Diasen and identified member agencies, it was agreed that the IMAGs may expand their membership as they deem necessary.

NEDA Director Juan Ngalob, who is also the RPMC Chairman said that inspired by the success of the Halsema Highway Support Group Task Force and the BARIP IMAG in closely monitoring the Halsema Phase I from La Trinidad to Mt. Data and the Baguio-Aritao Road respectively that resulted to early resolution of project related issues among stakeholders, the RDC decided to create the IMAGs for the three major road projects that are critical components of the Cordillera Roads Improvement Project.

He explained that the roads were first advocated in 1987 when the region was newly created but it was given due attention only in 2006. It is but proper that we ensure its proper implementation and utilization to sustain the projects' economic life for the broader interest of stakeholders, he said.

DPWH Regional Director Mariano Alquiza emphasized that the IMAGs will not displace monitoring groups already in place. Instead, it will improve monitoring system as it is tasked to coordinate all monitoring activities through joint inspection, meetings and problem solving to avoid duplication, conflicting resolution, and waste of time and energy. It also serves as an advisory body.

Alquiza pointed out the important role of the LGUs in the IMAGs in the resolution of problems commonly arising in projects such as road right of way, environmental concerns but also peace and order problems.

In the same meeting, Alquiza gave updates on the road projects as of September 30, 2007. The Mt. Data-Bontoc Section has 47.21% accomplishment based on P340 million released to date. At least five sections have been suspended pending removal/replacement of defective PCCP while two others are suspended for correction of defects.

For the Bontoc-Banaue section, DPWH reported a 40.78% accomplishment based on P189 million release. Work on the Ifugao side is almost finished with the concreting of View Point to Awan Igid and Awn Igid to Sumigar sections already completed. The Sumigar to Mt. Polis section is ongoing with 60% accomplishment.

For Section 1(Bontoc-Tinglayan Boundary Section) of the Bontoc-Tabuk road, accomplishment is 21.46% based on a P112 million release while Section 2 from Tinglayan boundary to Tabuk pegged accomplishment at 72.03% based on P229M release.

Alquiza informed that they will no longer allow 'chop chop' projects and they are proposing multi-year funding or yearly release of funds to ensure the completion of the projects.

The improvement of these two roads are among President Arroyo's commitments in her State of the Nation Address last year under the super region development vision.

As to the Cervantes-Mankayan-Abatan Road, this is expected to start implementation before the year ends. According to DPWH-Phil Japan Highway Loan Project Management Office, notice of award has already been issued to the lowest bidder. (PIA) [top]

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