Council Ok’s Plan for P 2.1 Billion Road Projects

DAVAO ORIENTAL – Davao Oriental’s newly approved plan for big-ticket road projects, set for implementation within the next five years, is touted to spur massive economic activities and bring in waves of opportunities here.

The P2.1 billion Local Road Network Development Plan, programmed by the Provincial Government for the year 2018-2022, plans to further improve the province’s socio-economic development by specifically aiming to give a boost to the province’s agri-industry and tourism.

The plan, which was recently approved by the Provincial Development Council, involves the concreting, rehabilitation, and improvement of 16 provincial road sections here stretching to a total of 129.6 kilometers. This requires a total budget of P1.8 billion plus P300 million for capacity development and procurement of equipment.

Provincial Development Council: SP Member Hon. Anacleto Macatabog representing Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang; Provincial Development Council Head of the Secretariat and PPDC Freddie Bendulo; and Technical Consultant Gisello Castilllones

While the Provincial Government is looking at tapping funds from external sources, particularly from the national government to finance these road projects, the Department of Interior and Local Government is already set to bankroll a sizeable funding through its Conditional Matching Grant for Provinces (CMGP) as it will also provide technical assistance to build these much-needed roads.

Recognizing agriculture as the major driver of the province’s economy, this new connectivity is poised to transform large swathes of agricultural areas into economically booming communities as these roads are anticipated to increase farm production by at least 10 percent and would further increase revenues while reducing underemployment.

Based on the value-chain analysis conducted by the provincial government’s technical team, these roads will provide an immense advantage in terms of agriculture considering that Davao Oriental has a total of 195,000 hectares of arable lands which is equivalent to 97% of the province’s total alienable and disposable land area as per data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

A flourishing eco-tourism industry is also being anticipated with the construction of these roads. Seeing a huge turnout of tourists in the recent years, the Provincial Government has been pushing for the improvement of roads leading to tourism sites.

In 2016, Davao Oriental which is host to more than 200 tourist attractions—the most number in the region, recorded an all-time high of tourist arrivals of more than 700,000 which has been steadily increasing in the following year.

Aside from the economic benefits that would result from the enhanced road system, the Provincial Government also strongly feels the necessity to invest more on connectivity since Davao Oriental is the farthest among all provinces in Davao Region, giving it the disadvantage in terms of travel time and transportation cost. Situated at the southeasternmost tip of the region and surrounded by extensive mountain ranges, the province is not included in the soon-to-be-implemented Mindanao Railway System, prompting the local government to explore schemes to improve connectivity.

Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang, whose leadership strongly pushes for enhanced connectivity especially in hinterland areas, says “the construction of roads is a worthy investment as they provide easy access to basic social services, connect farmers to markets, help save lives in times of emergencies and disasters, aid students in going to school, and help the police and soldiers keep the peace, among others,” adding that enhanced connectivity leads to many socio-economic benefits.

The LRNDP supports the Provincial Development Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) 2018-2022 which specifically targets five-development agenda of defeating poverty, safeguarding the environment, expand access to infrastructure utilities and social services, sustain public order and security, and strengthen effective governance. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

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