Back in 2016 — no one knew what “Build, Build, Build” meant or what it stood for. Critics had very little expectation of the team. They wagered against our success — not knowing that when they did — they gambled against the future of their country. They were certain that the infrastructure projects will never materialize — that blueprints will remain as drawings. They didn’t expect 6.5 million Filipinos to stand and work behind it.
While we were doing our 100-day report, Secretary Mark Villar and I talked on the kind of projects he wanted to pursue. He was a visionary who dreamt of great things for the Philippines and was willing to work 16 hours a day for it.
One of the first masterplans to materialize was the Luzon Spine Expressway Network — a blueprint that aims to increase the high standard highway network in Luzon by threefold and connect the northern and southernmost part of Luzon. Ultimately, the goal was to cut travel time from Ilocos to Bicol from 20 hours to only nine hours.
I could still remember – the first time we told the public of the plan to connect Manila to Baguio within 3.5 hours — no one believed us. They said it was mathematically impossible but the Build Build Build team carried on to realize a future that the next generation deserved.
Now, DWPH has completed 1,303 kilometers of roads, 201 bridges, 434 flood control projects, 2,570 classrooms, and 23 evacuation centers in Cordillera Administrative Region.
Today, let’s explore 10 Build, Build, Build projects in CAR, a region composed of six provinces: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.
1. Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) Outer Ring Circumferential Road
When the 154-kilometer BLISTT Outer Ring Circumferential Road project is completed, traffic in highly urbanized centers of Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay will be reduced by about 50-60 percent.
2. Apayao-Ilocos Norte Road
The Apayao-Ilocos Norte Road is the missing link of the Cordillera Roads Improvement Project (CRIP), which will be the region’s backbone that will connect all provincial and major growth centers. It will also serve as a lateral access road for Regions I and II to the Cordillera. The 65.58-kilometer road network with 12 bridges will reduce travel time from the capital town of Kabugao, Apayao to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte via Calanasan, Apayao from 6 and a half hours to 3 and a half hours when completed by the end of 2022. Barely three kilometers out of the 65.58 kilometers remains unpaved and has been included in the FY 2022 Regional Budget Proposal.
3. Kennon Road rehabilitation
Since its closure in 2018 due to the devastation brought by several typhoons, DPWH has spent more than P3 billion for the rehabilitation of Kennon Road, a 116 year old infrastructure. Of the identified 21 critical sections that required immediate and comprehensive repairs, 11 sections are undergoing construction works. The agency will need additional allocation for the remaining five erosion-prone sections to be fixed before the 33.7-kilometer stretch can be fully opened to the public. Once repairs are finished, Kennon Road will still need to be converted into an all-weather road through a public-private partnership after the completion of its feasibility study.
4. Great Wall of Baguio City
Dubbed as the “Great Wall of Baguio City”, the construction of this 4.6-kilometer bypass road connecting Major Mane Road to Kennon Road is underway and expected to be fully operational by 2023. The region is now on its Phase 4 of implementation after 3.07 kilometers of the said road was already finished under the first three phases of the project.
The on-going two-lane project has unexpectedly become a local tourist destination as it provides a breathtaking 360-degree view of Benguet mountain ranges. Aimed also to decongest traffic in the Central Business District, this bypass road will serve as an additional safe route to travelers from Kennon Road going to EPZA, Philippine Military Academy, Balatoc and Philex Mines.
5. Balili-Suyo-Sagada Road
The 9.446-kilometer Balili-Suyo-Sagada Road which starts at the end of the Dantay-Sagada Road in Barangay Ambasing, Sagada and ends at Baguio-Bontoc Road (Halsema Highway) in Barangay Balili, Bontoc Mt. Province is already 85 percent complete.
6. Sabangan-Sagada Provincial Road
When completed, the 9.85- kilometer Sabangan-Sagada Provincial Road will serve as alternate routes leading to the famous Sagada Caves, Hanging Coffins, Kiltepan Peak and other well- known tourist destinations in the area like the Banao Lake, Bokong Lake, Latang Lake, Aguid and Fidelisan Water Falls, Bumod-ok Waterfalls, and many more.
7. Alimusgan-Bai-Cagayanan Road
In Tineg, Abra, DPWH is fast-tracking the implementation of the 11-kilometer tourism road leading to Kaparkan Falls. The Alimusgan-Bai-Cagayanan Road project is now at 41 percent and is expected to increase economic activity in the area through transport and tourism related activities.
8. Benguet Sports Complex and Facilities
The completion of the largest sports facility in Benguet will create opportunities for the province to host annual local, regional and national sports events such as the Palarong Pambansa or even a potential venue for bigger international competitions and tournaments.
9. Chico River Embankment Dike
The 18-kilometer embankment dike along the Chico River spans from Calanan, Tabuk City to Magaogao, Pinukpuk in Kalinga. This 5.462-billion flood control structure expects to preclude the loss of lives and properties within the 18 barangays that are being affected.
10. Chico Karayan Bridge
The 215-meter bridge which was partially damaged by Typhoon Lawin in 2016 is finally completed. Now, the eastern barangays of Mountain Province is more accessible to market centers.