The House of Representatives has approved the P6.5 billion KALSADA fund, an unprecedented yearly national incentive for local roads pushed by Gov. Edgar Chatto and his fellow governors towards inclusive growth and broader prosperity.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Austere Panadero confirmed to Chatto that the budget is included in the 2016 National Expenditure Plan (NEP) already approved by the Lower House and now in the Senate en route to final enactment.
Chatto will have the Provincial Road Network Development Plan (PRNDP) and other requirements submitted this early for Boholâ€™s prioritization by the national government in the pioneering implementation of the program next year.
Bohol and nine other provinces having piloted the Australian-assisted Philippine Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF) Project are expected to be premium priorities in the KALSADA program, which implementing agency is the DILG.
Modesty aside, Chatto said the program has derived its template from Boholâ€™s model implementation of the PRMF with essential inputs learned from the useful practices in other PRMF areas in the country.
Panadero said a series of workshops on the formulation of the PRNDP for all non-PRMF provinces was already completed.
Short for â€œKonkreto at Ayos na Lansangan at Daan Tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran,â€ the KALSADA is a Filipino acronym that translates to â€œgood roads for inclusive growthâ€ or â€œpaved and orderly roads for broader prosperity.â€
Also known as the National Incentive for Local Road Management Program (NILRMP), the KALSADA focuses on the rehabilitation and upgrading of provincial roads nationwide using the P6.5 billion as national counterpart.
It is a sharing scheme and the biggest counterpart comes from the national government at 70% in the case of a first-class province like Bohol.
The mechanism will unburden the provincial LGUs of the heavy finances which they spend annually for the repair, improvement and maintenance of provincial roads, which total kilometric network is longer than the sum of the length of the national roads within a province.
The network of provincial roads link the national riads to areas of economic development, allow access to basic services and serve as important conduits during conflicts, crises and calamities.
Because a provincial government will now only focus on road maintenance, it can save millions annually for use for other essential infrastructure projects and socio-economic programs and services.
The KALSADA scales up the national commitment to the devolution and it is one innovation really building the local capacities, according to Department of Budget and management (DBM) Sec. Florencio Abad.
The DBM has supported the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and DILG in the development of the KALSADA idea drawn from the PRMF-introduced road and finance management reforms.
The PRMF is a Philippine-Australian partnership thru the DILG and Australian Assistance for International Development (AusAID) with the recipient provinces, like Bohol, counterparting.
The Bohol governor has himself been designated head of the LPP technical working group on the road incentive program and acknowledged by his fellow governors for leading the strong lobby for its approval, including funding, by the Aquino administration.
Panadero said the 2016 national budget includes the KALSADA funding under the Local Government Support Fund (LGCF) of the DBM and KALSADA Capacity Development activities under the DILG.
The DILG official wrote Chatto, â€œWe would like to thank you for endorsing and supporting the program.Â Your contributions, through the PRMF, have been valuable as we continue to pursue reforms for all the provinces in the country.â€
Early this month in Manila, Chatto was a leading participant to a working conference with the DILG, DBM, Department of Finance (DOF) and even Commission on Audit (COA) on the formulation of KALSADAâ€™s implementing guidelines. (Ven rebo Arigo)