Road for Progress (Daan sa Kaunlaran)
San Carlos City, Negros Occidental
San Carlos City is composed of eighteen barangays, eight of which are located in the uplands. These barangays had been neglected in the delivery of basic services for lack of an all weather road network. As a result, education, healthcare, agricultural development, livelihood, peace and order as well as other services left much to be desired. In 1994, the city initiated a massive 42 km road infrastructure project covering five of the eight upland barangays. A reputable engineering consultancy firm was hired to conduct a detailed engineering design. Strict measures were undertaken to ensure that the project conformed with the standards of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The P75 million, all-weather road, twelve kilometers wide, complete with drainage facilities was funded by the city government except for the concreting which was done by the national government. The initial monitoring of the progress of the construction work was done by the consultant who gradually transferred the expertise to the City Engineering Office.
The road reduced the distance of San Carlos to Bacolod, the capital of the province from 146 to 82 kilometers. Internally, the road opened up 15,000 hectares of agricultural lands which increased production ranging from 45 to 275 percent of traditional crops such as rice, corn, vegetables as well as non-traditional, high value crops like cutflowers, coffee, and black pepper. The road made possible the delivery of farm inputs and the transport of produce of farmers at the least cost. The passenger fare decreased by 20 percent and the transport cost by 30 percent. Agricultural technicians made regular visits to assist and update the farmers on various agricultural technologies like SALT (Sloping Agricultural Land Technology).
A new barangay site was created with the voluntary clustering of around 100 houses in a central location in Nataban which made the delivery of basic services easier. There was a steady supply of potable water and electricity. A barangay hall, health center, school, and communal toilets were established which improved the living condition of the people it the area. The road also facilitated the regular and effective delivery of basic services to the other upland barangays and improved the peace and order condition.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1997 Galing Pook Awards.