Plans for the “gigantic” Manila-Bataan Coastal Highway Project will be revived as the Regional Development Council (RDC) approved the Updated Central Luzon Investment Program (CLIP), distributing P590 billion for projects in the region.
Top local government chiefs of Central Luzon led by RDC Chair and San Fernando City Mayor Oscar Rodriquez, and Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr. approved the CLIP for 2011 to 2016 in the recent 6th RDC meeting at Balanga City.
“The CLIP contains the initial listing of public programs, projects, and activities necessary to realize the development goals of the region,” said Ebdane.
The updated project listing includes 266 non-major capital projects worth P16 billion, and 117 major capital projects which amount to P574 billion and where the coastal highway project (CHP) is slotted in.
Drafted way back in the 1970s, the CHP will construct a road dike over the Manila Bay to connect Manila and Bataan, covering 30 nautical miles. This will also traverse the bays of Bulacan.
Aside from cutting the travel time between Manila and Bataan to over an hour, CHP would also serve as a flood control dike to impede water from the West Philippine Sea in deluging Metro Manila cities and Bulacan towns particularly during high tide.
RDC has allotted P8.7 billion for the CHP which has an indicative implementation period of 2014 to 2018 and an “advanced level of project preparedness.”
Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III said he had already talked with Department of Public Works and Highway-Region III Director Antonio Molano and said the CHPP will “definitely be revisited.”
Garcia also proposed that instead of building the “gigantic” project all together, it could be done section by section to make the plan “realistic and practical.”
He said a road network from Apalit to Lubao, Pampanga could be constructed first which will cut travel time by 30 minutes from Apalit to Bataan without the need to pass the busy San Fernando City.
“Although the project is really good, it is difficult to pursue in total. We have to be innovative for cheaper cost and less issues,” Garcia said.
(JMG-PIA 3, Bataan)