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Friday, January 29, 2016

As roads mgt facility closes, KALSADA opens for LGUS

TAGBILARAN CITY, January 29 (PIA)—Because good things need to be sustained, a former foreign funded project implemented in Bohol is now eyed to continue in the 63 provinces, via a new name: Konkreto at Ayos na Lansangan at Daan Tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran (KALSADA) Program.

And the mother program which gave birth to KALSADA is Provincial Roads Management facility (PRMF) a project assisted by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), bared Rosalinda Paredes, former project coordinator. 

“PRMF is part of AusAID’s global economic development program,” Paredes, who has guest at the weekly Kapihan sa PIA said. 

The AusAID saw that a good road governance plays a key role in the integral development of a place, promotes connectivity, access to basic services, opens up transportation and ease of mobility and perking up sleepy economies. 

“It was the first time that I saw a [foreign funded] project which funds infrastructure,” Paredes, who used to be connected to an award winning NGO admits. 

But PRMF was not just about physical works, what it built were good secondary roads built in line with the national standards that approximate the Department of Public Works and Highway’s (DPWH) blue book. 

The DPWH’s blue book is a national standards manual for all national roads and their life spans before needing necessary maintenance activities. On the other hand, PRMF caused the crafting of the Local Roads Manual, one that can be guiding the opening up, maintenance and concreting of local roads, Paredes explained. 

Other than the funds, the PRMF also looked at the formulation of a road sector team for Bohol from looking into the human resources, which also triggered the expenditure management and the numerous interlinks which affect the entire roads value chain, she explained. 

At the end of the Bohol project, PRMF completed the rehabilitation of about 120 kilometers of secondary roads with funds reaching P200 million, the determination of 14 core roads which assure connectivity and access of communities to services, the formulation of the local roads manual, the recording of these roads as assets and not liabilities, while helping governments firm up the its road sector map. 

This also frees up a sizable amount of local budgets for the roads, which goes to other sections that were not within the priorities, the PRMF coordinator added, considering that foreign funds were also infused for the road rehabilitation. 

These road sections that were built by the PRMF in fact proved beneficial when the earthquake hit Bohol. 

Much of the national roads then were impassable as bridges toppled, the crucial roads stayed on and provided alternate access, Paredes claimed. 

And with the good track record, she shared that it would be a great loss to the people if the project terminates. 

And then, a DPWH source declared by the end of 2016, much of the national government’s road infrastructures would be concrete and the annual budget allocated for them can now be freed, local government units saw the opportunity for a continuation of the project, now using national funds.

After December of 2015 however, the PRMF reached the Department of Budget and the budget department mulled on piloting the project through KALSADA in some provinces. 

The other LGUS were not amenable and insisted that the project be opened for all, as long as the LGUS can comply with the requirements for availment of Kalsada funds. 

With the launching of the KALSADA program in Bohol last week, some funds are already set for two crucial road sections: Sikatuna Balilihan via Badiang Road and Alegria Catigbian-Hagilanan Road, sources from the Office of the Provincial Engineer bared. 

Another 35 provinces who would be availing of the KALSADA project have accordingly received their certificates of fund allocation, according to Paredes. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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