ILOILO CITY, March 20 (PNA) — The regional technical working group (RTWG) of the Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) program, a convergence program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), will meet this week to further evaluate projects for possible inclusion in the 2018 national budget.

DTI-Iloilo director Engineer Diosdado Cadena, a member of the RTWG, on Monday said that initially, projects amounting to more or less Php30 billion were proposed for Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental.

He believed that they could still trim down the long list of proposed projects, and Php10 billion is “reasonable enough for a start.”

During the meeting, they will be sorting out projects that will meet the criteria set by the program. They hoped to come up with the final list before the end of this month.

First in the criterion is that proposed projects must not have double funding. This means that they are not identified to be funded by the national government or through the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). The funding for the road right of way (RROW) must not form part of the funding support.

Also, they have to be certified as necessary by the DTI to meet the “importance” criterion. The proposed project must have linkage to trade and industry to facilitate the robust and more substantial development of the industry, he explained.

Another criterion is the “necessity” that will be certified by the DPWH. They will also be geo-tagged by the DPWH.

The RTWG will also look into the implementability of the project, Cadena added.

In Iloilo, he cited that several projects were identified to include the proposed circumferential road in Passi City. Cadena said that the component city is planning to have a circumferential road to decongest their traffic in preparation for its proposed establishment of an eco-zone.

Other proposed projects were in the towns of San Miguel, Concepcion and Maasin. The proposed projects were initially pegged at Php4 billion.

The RTWG from the DTI is composed of DTI OIC-regional director Rebecca Rascon, Engineer Jonas Fondevilla, Jade Gonzales and Cadena.

The ROLL IT Program is anchored and consistent with the Ambisyon Natin 2040, which envisions a predominantly middle-class society with enhanced standards of living and aims to eradicate hunger and poverty.

It will also be a boost to the government’s thrusts of accelerated infrastructure development and inclusive economic growth.

Priority projects under the industry sector include electronic manufacturing services, automotive and auto parts, aerospace parts, chemicals, shipbuilding, furniture and garments, tool and die and agri-business.

The services sector includes Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM), transport and logistics, tourism and construction.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to create a Convergence Program on road connectivity for industry and trade development was signed between DTI and DPWH on November 29, 2016.

The MOA aims to establish the working arrangement between the DTI and the DPWH to jointly undertake the planning, budgeting, advocacy for legislation, identification, evaluation, prioritization, regulation, supervision, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of industry-developing infrastructure projects in priority economic and manufacturing zones in the Philippines. (PNA)