Marcos Bill To Remedy Underinvestment In Local Road Networks

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Senator Imee Marcos has proposed to remedy the “underinvestment” of past government administrations in local roads, through a bill that ensures funding for their construction, rehabilitation, maintenance, and upgrade.

The present allocation for local roads averages only Php10 million per local government unit (LGU), “enough to cover only half the cost of repairs for one kilometer of concrete road,” Marcos said.

Adding to her priority bills aimed at poverty reduction, Marcos filed Senate Bill No. 224 to “institutionalize” the Conditional Matching Grant to Provinces (CMGP) program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“Twenty years of underinvestment has left local roads in poor-to-bad condition and in a disconnected state,” Marcos said.

The measly allocation for local roads comes from a mere 5% of road users’ fees collected by the Land Transportation Office, turned over to the Special Local Road Fund, and apportioned to LGUs according to their road length and vehicle count.

“We must link cities with far-flung areas to enhance the mobility of people and the transport of goods and services that will maximize the gains that could be made in local trade, agriculture, and tourism,” she added.

The responsibility over local roads and bridges was devolved to LGUs through the Local Government Code of 1991, but limited budgets and the lack of reliable road inventories have delayed the expansion of provincial road networks.