The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has laid out a new highway master plan for the Philippines' Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The effort aims to elevate our infrastructure through the development of high-standard highways (HSH).
In a turnover ceremony at the DPWH central office in Manila, the agency's Acting Secretary, Roger Mercado, expressed gratitude for the Japanese government. Japan was represented by Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko and JICA Philippines’ Eigo Azukizawa. There were other guests and government officials present for the event.
JICA's proposed master plan builds on Phase 1 from 2010. Phase 2 involves the construction of 4,400 km of HSH Class 1. It includes work on 406 km existing, 265 km under construction, and 3,279 km of new highways across Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao. To connect sub-regional centers, JICA also proposed building 4,600 km of HSH Class 2. It's currently unclear if the DPWH will be bringing in the private sector as it did with the Skyway projects.
In any case, there are short, medium, and long-term projects in the pipeline, all categorized based on priority. Apart from the new roads and highways, JICA's master plan also covers pre-feasibility studies for four new roads and bridges. These include the Agusan Del Norte-Butuan City Logistical Highway, the Cebu Circumferential Road, the Central Mindanao Highway, and the Cagayan de Oro-Malaybalay Section.
With Japan presenting a new highway master plan to the Philippines, motorists can expect world-class quality infrastructure in the coming years. As the proposed plan continues making rounds in our government, there is limited information on when these projects break ground.
Upon approval by the relevant authorities, the DPWH could begin construction on the new roads and highways. Motorists will have to be patient, however, as high-quality projects aren't built overnight. At the very least, we can expect to see new roads and highways in many parts of the Philippines over the next decade. Thanks to Japan, that just might be possible.