Funds for local road upkeep to grow six-fold to P39B

Provincial governments will receive more support in managing their local road networks. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced that the proposed 2017 budget for KALSADA (Konkreto at Ayos na Lansangan at Daan Tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran)—a landmark roads rehabilitation program—has increased six-fold to P39 billion compared to this year’s P6.5 billion.

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KALSADA provides funding to provinces to upgrade and rehabilitate the quality of local roads. To access the funds, provinces are required to meet good governance and performance standards, as well as to establish monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for their road projects.

“It’s important that our provincial governments get all the support they need from the National Government. Through it, we capacitate local governments so they can make more strategic plans and budgets for managing their local roads,” said Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad.

“This isn’t just a matter of enhancing the performance of our provincial governments. You see, when LGUs (local government units) perform better, their communities also benefit immensely from that. A strong LGU gives rise to a strong community,” he added.

[Read: P35B proposed for BuB projects in 2017]

Starting from 73 pilot provinces this year, the program scales this up to cover all 81 provinces by next year. The project targets to pave 832 kilometers or 20 percent of the total unpaved core provincial roads by end of 2017. The core provincial road network has a length of 11,725kms, of which only 4,161kms are paved and 7,564kms are unpaved.

The project also targets to enable 100 percent of provinces to operationalize effective strategies to increase tax collection, organize and train Internal Auditing Units, prepare procurement improvement plan, and include in their 2017 budget a road maintenance allocation.

“Local governments can only use a small share of our resources for taking care of our roads. With KALSADA in place, however, we now have greater capacity to maintain our own road networks,” said Nueva Vizcaya Governor Ruth Padilla.

“We laud the National Government for giving us the support we require, and we hope that KALSADA is sustained and carried over to the next administration,” Padilla added. Nueva Vizcaya is one of the best performing provinces for the 2016 pilot, with all of its projects already ongoing construction as of March 30, 2016.

As of the end of March, 24 KALSADA projects in 9 provinces are ongoing, 32 projects in 13 provinces have notices to proceed, and 74 are undergoing procurement. At least P5.7 billion or 88 percent of program funds have been released.

“The biggest determinant of a province’s KALSADA allocation is performance. We looked at the percentage of road projects they completed in 2015, as well as the quality of roads they now have. We also placed emphasis on each province’s needs. Naturally, we made greater consideration of provinces with a large share of unpaved roads,” Abad explained.

Under the KALSADA Roadmap, projects to upgrade and rehabilitate provincial core roads are expected to be completed by 2019.

The Open Roads Portal (www.openroads.gov.ph) contains the uploaded provincial road network maps, as well as videos of the conditions of priority roads before, during, and after the implementation of KALSADA.

—From the Department of Budget and Management