Issue of November 24, 2019
Mt. Province
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Benguet officials back Kennon Road reopening
by Susan C. Aro / PIA

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Members of the sangguniang panlalawigan met recently with the members of the Kennon Road Task Force to raise the concerns of the provincial, municipal, and barangay officials and the affected residents on the closure of the Kennon Road.

Board Member Nestor Fongwan Jr. proposed a resolution appealing to the Department of Public Works and Highways, Office of the Civil Defense, and concerned agencies not to permanently close the Kennon Road for three years as reported.

Among the reasons are the road closure’s adverse effect on the economic activities in the area, the impact to the riding public due to the absence of regular transportation services plying the route, and the regulation of private and public utility vehicles passing through even with existing  road closure, more so with longer closure.

Fongwan asked the concerned agencies to consider their plea to open the road during the summer so the business establishments can resume their businesses.

Residents are open to conditions and are fully aware that it is dangerous and unstable during rainy season, he said.  

Board Member Juan Nazarro said the closure should be a case-to-case basis. He recommended to the task force the possibility of extending financial assistance to residents whose livelihood has been affected.

He urged the fast-tracking of portions causing traffic and the enforcement of traffic that only allows residents to enter the area.

The provincial officials also recommended the reorganization of the task force to include the provincial government as Kennon Road is also within Benguet’s jurisdiction as it traverses Tuba.

DPWH-Cordillera Director Tiburcio Canlas clarified that as a protocol, OCD Regional Director Albert Mogol who chairs the Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, issues the official road advisories, but has not issued any official written directive about the controversial three-year road closure.

Canlas is open to the suggestion on the use of Kennon Road during occasions such as Panagbenga Festival and Philippine Military Academy graduation rites where heavy traffic is expected. He broached the idea of opening one lane going up Baguio.

Canlas proposed for a feasibility study on the economic, social, and other aspects on the rehabilitation of the Kennon Road which will involve stakeholders from the national government agencies, academe, community and other sectors.

He said he asked the DPWH central office for P25 million as a start-up amount for the conduct of an FS.

Kennon Road, which is the shortest route to Baguio City, remains closed to non-resident motorists for safety reasons given the threat of landslides and rockslides due to the rainy weather.

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