December 9, 2022

The rehabilitation of Kennon Road is stalled due to limited funds, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways-Cordillera.

In a dialogue with the city council, Engr. Arnold Dacwag of the DPWH-Cordillera said the targets of completion for some of the projects were not met due to limited funds.

“We do not have control over the release of funds every year. If we could dictate, we could have met all our targets. Right now, we make do with the limited funds given to the regional office,” Dacwag said.

He said they are still awaiting the release of funds for the rehabilitation of five critical sections at Kennon Road which are supposed to commence this year. The sections are located at camps 3, 4, 5, and 6 in Tuba, Benguet.

Dacwag hoped the amount needed to complete the five projects will be included in the budget of the regional office for 2022.

He said the estimated amount needed for these projects is around P850 million.

The five projects are among the 21 critical projects that need to be completed before the historic road is opened for the public.

The critical projects include the rehabilitation/reconstruction of roads with slips, road collapse, and landslides; rock netting/slope protection; replacement or reconstruction of demonstration bridge; rehabilitation/channel excavation along Bued River; and flood control along Bued River.

Based on the data presented by Dacwag to the city council, only eight of these 21 projects have been completed to date since 2020.

Dacwag said P3.2 billion has already been spent for the projects at Kennon Road undertaken since 2017 to present.

Kennon Road has remained closed for rehabilitation work since September 2018 due to the damages caused by Typhoon Ompong.

According to Office of the Civil Defense-Cordillera Director Albert Mogol, the indefinite closure of Kennon Road would ensure the safety of the motorists and would expedite the completion of work.

Mogol said both lanes of Kennon Road are passable only when there are requests to open it during special occasions and celebrations such as the Panagbenga Festival and the Philippine Military Academy’s Alumni  Homecoming.

Before the scenic highway is used by tourists, the Interagency Kennon Road Task Force ensures that the road is safe, he added.

The city council stressed the rehabilitation of the access road should be fast-tracked as residents in the locality have been clamoring for its reopening.

Councilor Joel Alangsab said there seems to be no sense of urgency in completing the rehabilitation work at Kennon Road as shown by the lack of workers in the construction sites.

The city council and the OCD-Cordillera agreed to undertake a joint inspection on these construction sites at Kennon Road which will take place in the second week of May. – Jordan G. Habbiling