LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The House committee on public works supports the immediate passage of House Bill (HB) No. 5612 providing for the construction of concrete barangay roads or multipurpose pavements in all the over 42,000 barangays in the country after the completion of the concreting of all national roads by the end of 2016.
HB 5612 is authored by Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan and Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla and it seeks to declare a national policy the provision of concrete barangay roads or multipurpose pavements in all barangays in support to the implementation and promotion of comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform to accelerate the socio-economic-cultural development of the countryside.
Cosalan, chairman of the House committee on public works, disclosed the bill had been calendared for committee hearings four times over the past several months and no objection was raised for its passage, thus, the bill will be recommended by the committee for approval and subject to plenary debates.
“The bill aims to give substance to the rural-based development strategy by placing equity and distributive justice at part with economic productivity. The construction of barangay roads and multipurpose pavements in barangays, especially in the provinces, is not only ideal but likewise beneficial to growth and development in the countryside,” Cosalan stressed.
The lawmaker pointed out concreted roads in the countryside will provide ease in transportation for people and cargo, it hastens not only travel but also communication because barangays become accessible to more people, thus, development and assistance can be felt in the grassroots level among others.
In far flung communities, The House committee chairman the concreting of all barangay roads will translate to better marketing among farmers that protect the small farmers from huge losses due to lack of drying and storage facilities, thus, farmers will no longer be forced to sell to middlemen at a losing cost.
Aside from easing transport of people and commodities, he cited the concrete pavements could also be used for community activities like fiestas, athletic competitions and social gatherings for everyone and keeps the roads exclusively for vehicles safer for people by keeping people and produce on the sidewalks.
Under the proposed bill, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) shall undertake the construction of concrete barangay roads or multipurpose pavements in all barangays throughout the country: provided that any such construction is based on a program prepared by the agency in coordination with the representative of the legislative district and the municipal or city development council.
However, the barangay council shall assume full supervision and control of projects with a maximum length of 100 meters and that the concreted roads and multipurpose pavements shall be located in the populated centers of the barangay and based on a classification by population and area to be formulated by the DPWH, barangays shall be classified into small, which shall have a 100-meter road pavement; medium, which shall have a 200-meter road pavement and large, which shall have a 300-meter road pavement.
In the construction of barangay roads and multipurpose pavements, Cosalan cited the DPWH shall give priority to barangays whose residents volunteer labor services in the construction of the infrastructure and the agency shall issue guidelines and receive applications for the same.
He added the amount needed for the construction of concrete barangay roads or multipurpose pavements in all barangays shall be included in the appropriations of the DPWH under the national budget provided, that funds for projects to be undertaken by the barangay council shall be released by the agency to the said barangay provided further that proportions of amounts available from official foreign assistance and concessional loans that are utilized in any given year shall be availed of by the President to augment the fund of the DPWH until the program shall be completed.
Cosalan noted the barangay road development program shall be implemented over a 5-year period after 2016 considering that all national roads shall have been concreted pursuant to the existing mandate of the DPWH.
By Dexter A. See