TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Governor James Edduba urged the national government to provide funding for the identified priority development projects endorsed by the various local government units (LGUs) and the different regional development councils (RDCs) instead of wasting resources for unprogrammed ones.
Edduba expressed dismay over what has been happening over the past several years where high-impact development projects such as the construction of farm-to-market roads, school buildings, health facilities, bridges, improvement of inter-connectivity, among others, had been given less priority over multi-billion rock netting projects that had been implemented in various parts of the Cordillera.
The governor claimed that in such cases, there is already inequity in the allocation of the government’s meager resources that results to the deprivation of low-income local governments like Kalinga, in accessing available funds from concerned government agencies to sustain the socio-economic development of the different towns and the whole province.
From 2019 to 2022, he revealed that the Cordillera was given more than P46 billion worth of rock netting projects which was not actually the need of the region to sustain its growth and development.
According to him, if the use of the funds had been properly planned and local government officials were consulted on how to use the said funds, then there should have been more roads, bridges, health facilities, irrigation, among others, that had been constructed and people already started benefitting from the said interventions.
The local chief executive expressed hope that the government will consider his suggestion so that whatever funds available will be wisely allocated for the identified needs of the people in the different parts of the country that will ensure the growth and development of low income local governments that had been deprived of the appropriate interventions with the wrong priorities that had been earlier done.
Edduba stipulated there should also be wise decision-making in the identification of areas that should be covered by rock netting projects so that there will be no waste of funds unlike in the previous implementation of such works which were implemented in areas that have been programmed to be affected by the implementation of road-widening projects that will simply result to the wastage of scarce resources.
Earlier, concerned elected officials and residents of the province submitted a petition to Public Works Secretary Manuel Bunoan calling for the immediate suspension of the implementation of rock netting in the different parts of the province and to investigate the alleged anomalies in the prosecution of the said projects.
However, the Department of Public Works and Highways–Lower Kalinga District Engineering Office (DPWH-LKDEO) clarified that the rock netting projects were aimed at addressing the occurrence of rock slides in identified critical road sections along national roads in the province and that the funds that had been provided for the projects are over and above the regular annual budget of the said office.