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PIA Press Release

Fast-tracking of CAR's physical integration depends on country's next leaders

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (10 September) -- What's next for the Cordillera Road Improvement Project (CRIP) after President Gloria Macapal Arroyo's term ends next year?

The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-AR) came out in the 1980's with the CRIP, a regional development master plan which aims to physically integrate all the major areas in the region. So far of the 31 road sections included in the CRIP, five are already completed, while five other road sections are on-going, including three State of the Nation Address(SONA) projects of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The President has allocated more than P5 Billion worth of SONA projects in CAR, so far the biggest allocation for infrastructure projects the national government allotted for Cordillera.

RDC Private Sector Representative and Sectoral Committee on Infrastructure co-chairman Engr. Tony Caluza during a Kapihan forum Tuesday said the CRIP, which will serve as the region's economic trunk line, is a long term project that will take about 50 years to be accomplished, based on their initial estimate.

According to Caluza, for a truly integrated Cordillera to be realized,.we need political interventions through additional fund allocation for the Department of Public Works and Highways, political pledges and Overseas Development Assistance Fund. The fast-tracking of CAR's physical integration will depend on the country's next leaders, according to Caluza.

On the status of SONA projects, DPWH-CAR Regional Director Roy Manao said accomplishment rate is about 57 percent and that they have committed to finish the Baguio -Bontoc, Bontoc - Ifugao and the Lubuagan - Tabuk roads by December and hopefully, to complete all the SONA projects before PGMA's term ends.

According to DPWH-CAR ARD Engr Alex Castaņeda, despite the inclement weather conditions that the region is experiencing this year, they are still pursuing the commitment of their department. "We are also regularly submitting reports to the president, through the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), in terms of accomplishments, problems that we encountered and suggested solutions for the problems," he said.

Aside from their effort to finish the SONA projects, DPWH-CAR is also presently involved in opening-up, clearing operations and rehabilitation of road networks in the region that was affected by landslides brought by typhoon "Pepeng. that hardly hit the region.

Manao explained that the Typhoon "Pepeng" affected roads are already being opened-up for the public and that clearing and rehabilitation/repair are continuously being implemented by the use of the regular maintenance fund of their district offices, allotted for other activities, hoping that the national government, through the NDCC, will replenished it in the soonest possible time. (PIA) [top]

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