Rural areas to get more budget for road repair

To speed up the improvement of roads in barangays, especially those in rural area, the House Committee on Public Works and Highways approved HB 6014 or the establishment of the “Barangay Road Development (BRD) Program” under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Principally authored by Rep. Mark Go, the BRD Program will be in charge of construction of all road projects allocated directly to the identified barangays in the country.

This program is intended to shift the DPWH’s focus from improving national roads to improving barangay roads.

“We have a lot of money in the DPWH, but their focus is only on the national roads. Almost 97 percent of the national roads are already okay, and we still have the same budget year to year. This bill will refocus to a certain degree the national government budget, not only to the national roads, but also to the barangay roads. So instead of redoing a lot of national roads, certain budget will be utilized for the barangay roads,” said Rep. Mark Go.

By improving these smaller roads, various barangays will be better connected to business centers and more developed areas, resulting in more business opportunities and socio-economic development in the nearby cities and municipalities.

"From the enactment of the Local Government Code up to the present, most LGUs, particularly in the rural areas, lack sufficient funding and resources to continuously improve barangay roads and other infrastructure," adds Go.

With this, the measure specifies that the BRD Program shall be funded corresponding to at least 20 percent of the annual capital outlay budget of the DPWH per district. Former DPWH Undersecretary Teodoro Encarnacion expressed his support for the bill. However, he underscored that the panel shall prioritize, not only the construction of barangay roads, but also their maintenance.

Ultimately, the bill will be aligned with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s economic development plan. “The construction of roads will enhance the flow of commerce and trade, and provide more convenient and faster access in transporting basic goods and services from urban to rural areas. Also, the BRD Program will sustain regional industries, improve agricultural and tourism activities, and promote the best condition for the general welfare of the commuters,” said Go.