BAGUIO CITY – A local legislator is urging concerned government agencies to formulate a comprehensive development plan on how to implement the proposed rehabilitation of the scenic and historic Kennon road so that it will be totally opened to vehicular traffic instead of trying to work out a close-open situation for one of the major roadlines leading to the city.
Councilor Faustino Olowan, chairman of the City Council Committee on Laws, Justice and Human rights, said it is best for the concerned government agencies to agree on the development that will be undertaken along Kennon road, source out the funding requirement and implement the programmed projects so that the closure of the road will be for a one time period that will be done in consultations with the affected communities along the stretch of the road.
“We understand the [predicament of the people living in the communities located along Kennon road but there is a need for concerned government agencies to already come out with the required development plan and implement the same so that motorists and the people living in the villages will not be left guessing on what will happen next if the projects are done in a staggered basis,” Councilor Olowan stressed.
For the past several months, Kennon road had been in a close-open situation because of the ongoing implementation of major projects along identified critical portions of the road to ensure the safety of motorists and residents once the roadline will be opened to vehicular traffic if all the programmed rehabilitation works shall have been completed by the implementing agencies.
After several months of being totally closed to vehicular traffic, Kennon Road was initially opened by the Cordillera Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) to motor vehicles of residents living in the communities along the stretch of the 34-kilomter roadline.
Because of the snowballing clamor from visitors wanting to spend a well-deserved break in the city during weekends and holidays, the CDRRMC decided to experiment opening the road to light vehicles going up before the conduct of the annual alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the highlights of the 24th edition of the Panagbenga or the Baguio flower festival before it was again decided that Kennon road will be opened to light vehicles weighing less than 5 tons during weekends.
However, the said practice was temporarily stopped by the CDRRMC to assess and evaluate the present situation along the roadline, especially on matters of the safety of motorists considering the full implementation of major projects that were funded to purposely stabilize critical portions of the major road leading to the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.
Olowan said that it is important for the involved agencies to come out with a timetable on the programmed projects along the roadline so that the motorists and the residents will be guided accordingly and for them to know if Kennon road has a chance of being fully opened after the completion of all projects that were programmed to address the critical portions of the road.
Kennon Road is still considered the shortest route going in and out of the city and it was built over a century ago by thousands of Filipino and foreign workers who joined forces in carving out the road from the mountain slopes.
By Dexter A. See
Banner photo by: JOSEPH B. MANZANO