Widened Roads for Wider Opportunities: Road Decongestion Projects in SOCCSKSARGEN

Monday, March 10, 2014

Part of DPWH Program is the realization of Aquino administration’s goal towards sustained economic growth and poverty reduction through improved infrastructure programs and projects.

According to Roads and Bridges Inventory Assessment (RBIA) data of DPWH XII, 80% of the national primary road in Central Mindanao Region is already paved or concreted while national secondary road is already halfway. Various road widening works under Road Decongestion Project were undertaken in SOCCSKSARGEN.

Additional road lanes and shoulder improvement activities aim to provide safer road, faster mobility of goods and services, and more comfortable travel in the region.

Undertaking the DPWH mandate is not without a hint of aversion from the eyes of its critics. Providing safety and convenience to the travelling public involves removal of obstructions which may include private properties such as houses, fences, land, trees and other structures. An obstruction refers to any structure either temporary or permanent within the road right of way and poses danger to residents and/or motorists.

Basically, before project implementation, actual site surveys and inspections are conducted by DPWH to identify Project Affected Families (PAF’s) and/or properties followed by series of public information campaign in coordination with the concerned Local Government Unit (LGU), and when necessary, with the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP).

DPWH compensates affected and damaged property/s per assessed market value from the Office of the Assessor (LGU), and only after complying with the required legal documents and processes.

In the same manner, the Department had also experienced difficulty in removing affected trees during road expansion/improvement due to some prohibition in cutting trees, thus delays project implementation.

In some cases, trees grown close to the carriageway obstruct the sight of motorist which frequently resulted to road accidents. The Department conducts roadside maintenance activities which includes vegetation control as well as regular trimming of trees and removal of billboards encroaching the Road Right Of Way.

To avoid grown trees from being removed or cut, DPWH has issued Department Order # 38 series of 2006 amending D.O.#15 regarding tree planting along the national roads. The guideline states that roads where there is sufficient space between the identified RROW limit and pavement edge, trees shall be planted with a minimum clear distance of 1.0 m from the RROW limit but not less than 5.0 m from the edge of the pavement for future widening.

For roads with narrow RROW, no tree planting activities shall be undertaken to preclude accidents and allow space for vehicle to pull over during emergency.

Improving infrastructure projects and highlighting road safety concerns cannot be done without causing equally massive number of inconveniences. As DPWH endeavored to construct quality and safer infrastructure in the region, also appealed for patience and understanding from the public and its stakeholders.

Regional Regional Director Reynaldo S. Tamayo explained that infrastructure progress and modernization are plain steps toward economic progress. He appealed for support from the public and stakeholders in the region. “Nothing is done without sacrifices. Allow us to do our share in nation building. Let us be positive and make people understand the value of unimpeded roadways.”, he disclosed.