Fellow governors across the country Â backed Gov. Edgar Chattoâ€™s national incentive scheme for local roads.
The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) unanimously adopted in a resolution the National Incentive Program for Local Road Management (NIPLRM) otherwise known as Provincial Road Network Development Program (PRDP) hopefully for inclusion in the national budget starting 2016. Gov. Chatto was voted as chairman of the governorsâ€™ leagueâ€™s technical working group to push for the program at all levels of the national government.
The program has for its convincing basis the Bohol experience in implementing the foreign-assisted Philippine Provincial Roads Management Facility (PRMF), a counterparting approach to reforms and governance with the road sector as an entry point.
The PRMF has been aided by the Australian Assistance for International Development (AusAID), in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), with the province counterparting.
Once included in the annual National Expenditures Program (NEP) following legislative approval, the PRNDP will have the local government units (LGUs) topped by the provinces dramatically unloaded of their financial burden in managing local roads.
With the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) fronting, the support to the incentive scheme has already been â€œclearâ€ in the executive budget deliberation, Chatto and fellow governors were told.
The responsibility of maintaining, repairing and rehabilitating provincial roads has been a continuing challenge through the years.
Through the national incentive for local roads, the provinces are presenting to the national government a way of ensuring the task done without necessarily disturbing the internal revenue allotment (IRA) sharing.
The program seeks to provide the provinces increased national funding to support the maintenance and rehabilitation of core local roads, which are topped by provincial roads, connecting growth centers.
The NIPLRM formula takes into account multiple factors like the provinceâ€™s income class, poverty incidence, and total length of core roads vis-Ã -vis the total length of provincial roads.
As currently estimated, Bohol could get P65% assistance from the national government for its provincial roads at P147 million per year.
The province spends for the remaining 35% from its own road maintenance and repair budget at P78 million annually while using the huge saving for other essential services.
The Bohol leader has championed this paradigm shift of policy, which is getting fuller national support,Â Â though the governorsâ€™ league of which he is the national secretary-general with further backing of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP).
The union is the mother of all local government leagues in the country and its name was coined by Chatto himself when, as then national president of the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines (LVGP), he sat as ULAP secretary-general.
The governors have designated Chatto to head their technical working group (TWG) and as their league spokesman on the advocacy to secure more regular annual funds for local roads.
POOR FUND,Â POOR ROAD
Lack of funds has beset existing system in most provinces, affecting the quality of local roads for which limited resources cannot cover the full cost of desired maintenance, rehabilitation and improvement.
As they demand a bigger budget, local roads allocated poorly can only get poor maintenance whereas their improvement is focused if national counterpart fund is secured.
Chato asserted that even the goal of national productivity cannot be achieved by working on national roads alone.
He emphasized that local roads must be well connected for the attainment of wider economic development and growth.
It is a reality that provincial roads and bridges comprise a network longer than the kilometric sum of national roads and bridges in most provinces, yet they are solely funded by provincial LGUs.
Boholâ€™s road network development plan, which is required once the incentive program effects, can give the province an edge in securing a priority spot for allocation in the test year of implementation. Â
The NIMPLRM has reinforced the core intent of Chattoâ€™s previous works that have now benefited local roads.
These are his laws in Congress nationalizing essential provincial road stretches and the National Tourism Act of 2009, which he also authored as then congressman, providing in Section 34 of RA 9593 for the legal basis for the convergence road program engaging the national public works and tourism agencies.
The convergence, which also involves the provincial government, allows national funds to improve local roads in tourism areas without necessarily nationalizing these roads.
Better roads have higher multiplier impacts on tourism, agriculture, livelihood, education, health and many more, including other infrastructures.
It is nursing to the heart seeing an ambulance car fast responding to an emergency in a mountain area where a road is well paved, the governor said.
Chatto said that as it, in the ultimate, addresses poverty and helps ensure inclusive growth, the incentive program is itself a road to building a stronger province, sturdier nation. (Ven rebo Arigo)