Have you ever imagined, as an avid motorcycle rider, that someday, travel between Luzon to Mindanao (or vice versa) would be possible without the need to hitch a (or with very minimal) ferry ride?
Hopefully, it would soon become a reality.
Just recently, the Embassy of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), handed over to the Philippine Government, through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the proposal of a long-term master plan of establishing and improving the connectivity of the entire country, with the identification and proposed implementation of a total 9,000km Class-1 and Class-2 High Standard Highways (HSH).
“With the implementation of projects identified in the Master Plan, we believe that it will result in better connectivity among regions not only spurring economic activities but also alleviate poverty, enhance disaster response and increase delivery of social services. We hope that one day this beautiful country that is once separated by thousands of islands will transform into a country with inter-connected islands,” said JICA's Chief Representative, Azukizawa Eigo.
The new Highway Master Plan proposes the construction of 4,400 kilometers of Class 1 HSH, which is composed of 406 kilometers of existing roads, 265 kilometers are under construction, while 3,279 kilometers of new highways to be implemented along major transport corridors across the country. About 4,600 kilometers of Class 2 HSH (regional high standard highway) roads will branch off from the Class-1 HSH to provide connection to sub-regional centers, important ports, and airports not covered by Class-1 HSH.
All in all, that means the proposal involves about 9,000 kilometers of HSH Class 1 and Class 2 HSH.
In addition to the development of the Master Plan, four pre-feasibility studies have also been conducted under the Project, i.e., Central Mindanao Highway (Cagayan de Oro - Malaybalay), Cebu Circumferential Road, Agusan del Norte - Butuan City Logistical Highway, and a 2nd San Juanico Bridge in Region 8.
“We are grateful for JICA’s technical capacity and expertise in world-class infrastructure for it is crucial not just in decongesting highly urbanized areas, but also in achieving the 2040 National Development Plan of making the Philippines a prosperous country by investing in high-quality infrastructure,” said DPWH Secretary, Roger 'Oging' Mercado.