Australia helps improve road infrastructure in three more provinces
Three provinces in southern Philippines will soon benefit from improved road conditions through an innovative partnership between the Governments of Australia and the Philippines.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell, and Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, today launched the Philippines Provincial Road Management Facility in three more provinces – Aklan, Davao del Norte and Lanao del Norte – in a ceremony held at the Ascott Makati.
The five-year, Php 4.3 billion (A$100 million), Provincial Road Management Facility helps provincial governments upgrade and then maintain their core road network in provinces in Mindanao and the Visayas. The program started in seven partner provinces: Bohol, Guimaras, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental. After showing early results, Australia decided to extend the program to another three provinces.
“In partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and provincial governments, Australia is working to improve the quality of roads across the country. Roads upgraded by the program are cutting transportation costs and increasing access of poor Filipinos to basic services, such as schools and health clinics,” Ambassador Tweddell said.
While a large portion of the program’s funds will be spent on road rehabilitation and maintenance in the provinces, the program is also supporting local governance reforms to improve the quality and efficiency of public service delivery to communities. Provinces compete for extra resources through the program’s incentive mechanism by progressing reforms in the key governance areas of planning and budgeting, procurement, internal audit, human resource development and increasing locally-generated revenues.
“Australia’s use of incentives aligns strongly with President Aquino’s performance-based approach to fast-track local governance reforms. Our partner provinces are building momentum and introducing good governance reforms. They are increasing their revenues to fund essential services to the poor. Their budgets are more transparent and allow for easier expenditure tracking,” Ambassador Tweddell said.
“Good governance practices are critical to sustain service delivery, including quality roads. The program aims to ensure each province can sustain the reforms without ongoing Australian assistance.”
The Facility has so far completed 14 road rehabilitation projects, benefitting at least 51,000 people and delivering material economic and social benefits to the communities. There have also been improvements on how the partner provinces do their business, including: implementing their provincial plans with appropriate resources; rationalising their human resource management and development plans; exercising internal control and audit procedures; contracting out road service delivery using their own resources and generated higher local revenue; and even increasing community participation in road rehabilitation and maintenance.
Also present at the ceremony were the governors of the program’s 10 partner provinces: Adolph Edward Plaza (Agusan del Sur), Carlito Marquez (Aklan), Edgar Chatto (Bohol), Alex Calingasan (Bukidnon), Rodolfo del Rosario (Davao del Norte), Felipe Hilan Nava (Guimaras), Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte), Herminia Ramiro (Misamis Occidental), Oscar Moreno (Misamis Oriental), and Sol Matugas (Surigao del Norte).
Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and the country’s largest bilateral grant aid donor. In the current financial year, Australia will provide over Php5 billion in development assistance to the Philippines, focusing on economic growth, basic education, and national stability and human security.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell and Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo (seated, 2nd and 3rd from right respectively) led the launch of the Australian Government-supported Philippines Provincial Road Management Facility in three new partner provinces – Aklan, Davao del Norte and Lanao del Norte. The Facility helps provincial governments upgrade and then maintain their core road network in provinces in Mindanao and the Visayas. The program started in 2009 in seven partner provinces: Bohol, Guimaras, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental. Present at the launch were the provincial governors: (standing, L-R) Edgar Chatto (Bohol), Alex Calingasan (Bukidnon), Sol Matugas (Surigao del Norte), Hermina Ramiro (Misamis Occidental), Rodolfo del Rosario (Davao del Norte), Adolph Edward Plaza (Agusan del Sur), Carlito Marquez (Aklan), Mohammad Khalid Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte), Oscar Moreno (Misamis Oriental), and Felipe Hilan Nava (Guimaras). Also in photo are: DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero (standing, extreme right), and AusAID Minister Counsellor Octavia Borthwick and AusAID Counsellor Andrew Egan (seated right, left respectively).