PRESIDENT AQUINO OPENS AUSTRALIAN-SUPPORTED ROAD PROJECT
(L-R) President Benigno Aquino III, Australian
Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith and
Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno open
a provincial road in Misamis Oriental rehabilitated by the Australian Government-funded Provincial Road Management Facility
President Benigno Aquino III and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith opened on 23 March a provincial road in Misamis Oriental rehabilitated by the Australian Government-funded Provincial Road Management Facility.
The five-year, Php 4.3 billion Provincial Road Management Facility helps provincial governments upgrade and then maintain their core road network in provinces in Mindanao and the Visayas. Misamis Oriental is one of the initial seven provinces covered by the Facility.
“This road will make a significant difference in the lives of the citizens of Misamis Oriental. Communities are already reaping benefits from the improved road,” Ambassador Smith said.
The road construction generated local jobs, employing more than 100 local workers. Travel time along the road has shortened from an average of one hour to 35 minutes, and average costs for transporting farm produce have been slashed by almost half. More than 1700 farmers are expected to benefit from the improved road section alone.
The Facility is different to most other donor-funded road projects by focusing not only on road construction, but also ensuring that local governments put in place the governance systems to enable them to maintain the roads over time.
“The Provincial Roads Management Facility recognises that good governments invest not just in road upgrading but also in maintenance. It is about the Australian Government and Department of the Interior and Local Government working with Misamis Oriental and other provincial governments to help them change the way they do business,” Ambassador Smith said.
Over 5 years, the Australian Government is committing approximately Php1.8 billion for capacity-building activities and for the rehabilitation of roads across its partner provinces, including Misamis Oriental. By progressing reforms in key governance areas of planning and budgeting, internal audit, human resource development and increasing locally-generated revenues, provincial governments compete for a share of up to Php2.2 billion through the Facility’s incentive mechanism.
“Australia’s use of incentives aligns strongly with President Aquino’s performance-based approach to fast-tracking local governance reforms. The emphasis is on strengthening local government practices so that they are more effective in delivering services, including in providing and maintaining quality roads, more transparent in their operations and more responsive and accountable to their people,” Ambassador Smith said.
Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and one of the country’s three largest bilateral grant aid donors. In the current financial year, the Australian Government will provide an estimated Php5 billion in development assistance to the Philippines, focusing on economic growth, basic education, and national stability and human security.