by Hanna C. Lacsamana
Compared to 10 years ago, roads in the Cordillera especially in its hard to reach areas are a lot better now.
Still, much can be done so that progress brought by tourism and trade would be entirely realized, Presidential Communications and Operations Office Asst. Sec. Ana Marie Banaag-Rafael said last week.
Rafael, a native of Natonin, Mountain Province and is no stranger to the difficulties of having poor road conditions, said she is confident that the Department of Public Works and Highways has enough funds for road concreting and some of it is going to the Cordillera, especially in provinces or municipalities that have great tourism potentials but are not yet accessible.
Aside from DPWH, she said the Department of Tourism also has funds allotted for road improvements, not only for Cordillera but for roads in the country that need to be paved.
“I am sure, these funds are trickling down to the Cordillera, especially those in the countryside that can be developed as eco-tourism sites,” Rafael said.
She said she has seen road improvement in her hometown, which used to resemble an island in the mountains every time a landslide occurred because the town become isolated due to poor road condition.
“Now, it is better, but we can still do better,” she said, as she added that given the its landscape, it would take years to have every road in the region improved.
“What we are improving now are rocks of mountains, so to widen those roads are quite taxing on the part of the DPWH but we’re getting there.”
The DPWH allotted more than P13 billion for infrastructure projects in the Cordillera for this year.