League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) secretary-general and Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto has lauded the P18 billion national grant for local roads nationwide next year.
He hailed Pres. Rodrigo Duterteâ€™s administration thru Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Sec. Benjamin Diokno for the bigger allocation.
This is under the so-called Conditional Matching Grant to Provinces for Road Repair, Rehabilitation and Improvement, Chatto said.
The new program has renamed the KALSADA, an unprecedented program on national-local fund counterparting for well-paved roads Â in the countrysides.
Chatto said “change has come bigger”, referring to the P18 billion fund for 2017 under the new program name.
The amount is almost triple the amount of P6.5 billion for KALSADAâ€™s on-going implementation this year.
The huge increase is a big help to the provinces which had long been heavily burdened by solo local spending for the repair, improvement and maintenance of provincial roads.This had been the condition until the KALSADA was created and adopted last year with funding under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2016.
Chatto said Diokno assured the governors of the bigger conditional matching grant allocation as already included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2017.The budget secretary was the guest speaker at the meeting of the LPP National Executive Board (NEB) at the Manila Hotel on Wednesday during which he announced the good news.
Chatto said other important developments bared to the governors are the P15.7 billion assistance to disadvantaged municipalities and P800 million financial subsidy to the LGUs.
The P15.7 billion will be allocated based on the magnitude of poor families, vulnerability to disasters and other criteria to be established by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The P800 million will support various priority programs and projects of the local government units.
The road grant, assistance to disadvantaged municipalities and financial subsidy to the LGUs amount to P34.6 billion and are Â included in the Â NEP (National Expensiture Program) for next year, Chatto said.
First District Rep. Rene Relampagos said the executive department Â will submit to Congress the proposed 2017 annual national budget tomorrow.
This development should Â hasten the reorganization and new composition of the House of Representatives appropriations committee as only its chairman has so for been elected by the solons, Relampagos said.
Having himself once Â served as governor, Relampagos did experience restraints to the rehabilitation and improvement of all provincial roads using yearly local allocations alone.
He fully supported the national-local partnership in road infrastructure development, which is also an essential physical component of achieving genuine economic growth in agrarian reform areas.
Relampagos is the new chairman of the important House agrarian reform committee.
Chatto said the impact of the national support to the provinces thru the matching grant program for local roads is far reaching as it stimulates economic growth and development by connectivity.
Being a conditional scheme, the provinces will be challenged to comply with the requirements or meet the criteria set by the national government thru the DILG.The criteria includes the achievement of the Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping, focused geographical areas, special local road completion rate, percentage rate of unpaved roads, and percentage share of fair to good roads.
Chatto and fellow governors led by their new league president, Ilocos Sur. Gov. Ryan Luis Singson, thanked the national government for continuous support to local advocacies like the KALSADA under a new program.
The KALSADA program Â was formulated by the past batch of the LPP thru its technical working group, which designated head was Chatto himself.
Boholâ€™s experience in the successful implementation of the Australian government-aided Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF) project was cited to have provided the KALSADA its substantial template.
The Duterte administration and its budget department under Diokno approved the new conditional matching grant scheme after reviewing the provincial road network development program.
At the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Friday, Board Member Elpidio Jala proposed the inclusion of certain major interior roads in the Third District for improvement under the matching grant program.
Board Member Kristine Alexie Tutor, also of Jalaâ€™s district, Â raised the Â particular condition of the Quinoguitan road from Loboc to Sevilla, which hanging bridge has drawn more tourists after the shooting there of the top-rated ABS-CBNÂ teleseryeÂ Dolce Amore.
The list of these roads, as well those in the First and Second Districts, will be submitted to the SP public works committee for proper endorsement to appropriate agencies and other support sources.
All road concerns will be acted based on road inventory qualifications, the governor said, and there are other major development interventions with road improvement components, too.Â (Ven rebo Arigo)