By: Philippine Resources April 01, 2024

A remarkable step forward in the infrastructure development under Bagong Pilipinas following a successful loan signing agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the procurement and civil works of the 23-kilometer Dalton Pass East Alignment Road Project in Cagayan Valley Region.

In a ceremony on March 26, 2024 at the JICA Philippines Office in Makati City, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Ralph G. Recto and the JICA-Philippines Chief Representative Takema Sakamoto signed the first of two (2) tranches of the loan agreement amounting to 100 billion Japanese yen (approximately PHP37 billion) for the consulting services and civil works of the Dalton Pass East Alignment Road Project.

The official ceremonial signing of the loan agreement was attended by DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Embassy of Japan Economic Affairs Minister Nihei Daisuke, JICA Senior Representative Fukui Keisuke, DPWH Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, and DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Road Management Cluster I (Bilateral) Project Director Benjamin A. Bautista. Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime J. Bautista was also present for a separate loan agreement for Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1.

DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan thanked the Government of Japan for its enduring interest and commitment in helping the Philippine Government to plan, design, build, and maintain the infrastructure developments in the country following the “Bagong Pilipinas” brand of governance and leadership through the “Build Better More” agenda of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

The continued bilateral cooperation between the Government of the Philippines and Japan through JICA, the implementing agency for technical cooperation of Japan’s official development assistance (ODA), has developed strengthened partnership and collaboration demonstrated in the Philippine infrastructure flagship projects over the years.

According to Senior Undersecretary Sadain, in-charge of DPWH infrastructure flagship projects, the Dalton Pass East Alignment Road Project is envisioned to provide fast, continuous, and safe connectivity of people, goods, and services from Cagayan Valley Region and Central Luzon, bolster economic activities as well as stimulate the agricultural, commercial, industrial, and tourism development in the entirety of Luzon.

The construction of Dalton Pass East Alignment Road Project will promote and elevate the economic and transport activities in Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, and the rest of Cagayan Valley Region known for its rich and vast lands, thus the major producers of rice and corn in the entire country, said Senior Undersecretary Sadain.

This alternative road, which outlines four (4)-lane roads or two (2) lanes per direction, will bypass the existing Dalton Pass, especially during road closures due to calamities and accidents, and to decongest the heavy traffic in the old route. The project involves the construction of 6.121-kilometer twin tube sections, with the longer sections of the northern and southern tunnels approximately measuring 4.516-kilometer and 1.605-kilometer in total length, respectively. It likewise involves the construction of 10 bridges with a total length of 5.828 kilometers and slope protection works.

Meanwhile, the four (4) components of the project include the road highway accessible to all municipalities and barangays in Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija, the north and south tunnel that will be situated in the Municipality of Santa Fe and Carrangalan, and the bridge that will traverse from the Municipality of Aritao, Santa Fe, and Carrangalan.

The project is divided into four (4) packages, namely: package 1 with a total length of 13.62-kilometer 4-lane road, a 1.6-kilometer twin-tube south tunnel, and seven (7) out of 10 bridges expanding to 1.840 kilometers; package 2 encompasses the 4.78-kilometer north tunnel, and package 3 will develop the remaining 4.61-kilometer of the four (4)-lane road and the construction of bridges 8, 9, and 10 with a length of 1.17-kilometer. Finally, package 4 will focus on the construction of a tunnel facility, operation and maintenance facility, and power line works.

In December 2023, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved the PHP67.4-billion estimated cost of this project, which accelerated all the preparatory efforts and hard work of the DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) - Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) in realizing this breakthrough project positioned to become the economic and transportation gateway between Regions II and III.

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