DTI, DPWH urged to adopt interconnectivity framework

Erwin P. Nicavera

THE Infrastructure Development Committee of the Negros Island Regional Development Council (NIRDC) has urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to adopt its interconnectivity framework in identifying two major road networks in Negros Occidental.

The two agencies are currently in the process of identifying two priority road networks for development under the Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade (Roll It) Program.

Frank Carbon, chair of the NIRDC Infrastructure Development Committee, said they are willing to help the DTI and DPWH in identifying the networks, which need value chain analysis and classification of industries.

Aside from the current two major arteries connecting Negros Occidental and Oriental, namely Pontevedra-La Castellana-Canlaon City-Vallehermoso in the north, and Kabankalan City to Mabinay in the south, the committee in its transport master plan has pr oposed six additional networks.

These are the Binalbagan-Isabela-Guihulngan; Himamaylan City-Tayasan; Kabankalan City-Ayungon passing through Barangay Carol-an; Kabankalan City- Bayawan City; Vallehermoso-San Carlos City; and Canlaon City-San Carlos City.

Carbon said the development of these road networks is part of the three-year rolling infrastructure program of DPWH. Some are already on construction works, and the completion is targeted by 2020.

"Some of these road networks were already adapted by the Department of Tourism and Department of Agriculture in implementing their respective programs and projects," he added.

Carbon, also the regional director of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in NIR and Western Visayas, said the project has industry development component, which agencies like DTI is focusing on thus, its adoption is seen to help the latter in its bid to boost local economic growth.

"Interconnectivity will provide access especially to the grassroots level in developing and promoting the industries thriving in their area," he said, pointing out that in developing road networks in Negros Occidental, connectivity with neighboring cities and municipalities in Oriental should also be considered.

DTI-Negros Occidental earlier said they have initially identified the road networks, but these are still subject to further study by the DPWH.

The project was supposed to be presented during the NIRDC Meeting in Canlaon City last Friday.

Carbon, however, said that it was not yet adapted and endorsed by the Provincial Development Council (PDC) during its meeting on March 15 thus, the committee cannot yet present it to NIRDC.

Lea Gonzales, provincial director of DTI-Negros Occidental, said the details are already with the DPWH, but "there might be additional verifications and validations to be conducted."

Through the Roll It Program launched in 2016, the two agencies target to develop two major road networks in every province in the country.

For Negros Occidental, it is expected to be fully realized next year.

"This project will surely boost connectivity and lower cost for local enterprises," Gonzales had said, adding that the joint-agreement will focus on addressing the need of the country's 12 priority industries.

These include electronic manufacturing services, automotive and auto parts, aerospace parts, chemicals, ship building, furniture and garments, tool and die for engineering works, agri-business, information and technology - business process management (IT-BPM), transport and logistics, tourism and construction.