MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has a total of 216,016 kilometers (km) of roads according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Stretched into a straight line, this length can reach halfway to the moon.
Only a little over a quarter (27.87%) of this total network has been paved. Some 155,800 km of roads, or almost three-quarters of the entire road network, remains unpaved or are little more than dirt roads.
In general, infrastructure in the Philippines remains “poor” compared to most countries ranked in the 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum.
Of the 140 countries featured in the report, the Philippines ranked 90th in terms of overall infrastructure. More specifically, the Philippines is 97th among nations on the quality of road infrastructure, 10 notches down from the 2014-2015 report.
Among our Southeast Asian neighbors, the Philippines is almost at the bottom of the list, next only to Myanmar, which placed at 136. Vietnam, which used to be at the bottom of the list, has caught up with the Philippines in the latest report.
This is not to say that the country is not pouring resources into road projects.
The amount the government allots to road projects grows each year. In the 2016 budget, a total of P277.02 billion ($5.89 billion) is alloted for roads and bridges. This is about three times the budget for roads in 2011.
More than the need to pour concrete over unpaved paths, roads are supposed to perform vital functions.
They are supposed to bring people to where they need to go: students to schools, patients to hospitals, tourists to key destinations, farmers to markets.
They are supposed to connect the marginalized and help communities develop and become more resilient to disasters. They are supposed to help improve lives.
Are current road projects performing these vital functions? Let us know what you think.
As part of #TheLeaderIWant, Rappler’s campaign to scrutinize leaders aspiring for posts in the 2016 elections based on issues that matter to us, let us talk about the Philippine road network: what it means to ordinary citizens and what it takes to improve it.
How do you monitor all projects along such an extensive network? How do we ensure that the right road projects are prioritized?
On Twitter and Facebook, tag Rappler and let’s discuss these:
- What roads are critical to the development and welfare of your community?
- How can you take part in identifying what road projects need to be funded? How can you make sure that roads that matter to you are built and properly maintained?
- What role can you play in ensuring that funds for roads go where they should go?
- What kind of leaders can help us develop better road networks?
On December 3, at 12 noon, Rappler’s Maria Ressa will interview World Bank Senior Economist Kai Kaiser about the condition of the road network in the Philippines and programs the bank has been supporting to improve the Philippine road network.
At the 2015 Manila Social Good Summit, Kaiser talked about how open data help build better roads and communities. Watch his speech here.
Join the conversation using #OpenRoads and #TheLeaderIWant and help improve the roads that matter to you. – Rappler.com with reports by Aika Rey
What roads need to be properly maintained or built in order to promote development in poor communities within the country? Let us know. Take photos, turn on precise location and tweet using #OpenRoads!
Learn more about how you can help improve road conditions in the Philippines:
- #OpenRoads: Adopt roads that matter to you
- Rappler Talk: What roads matter to you?
- #TheLeaderIWant: Cebu youth identify roads that matter to them
- #OpenRoads: Share photos of roads that matter to you
- How open data help build better roads, communities
The #OpenRoads campaign is done in partnership with the World Bank Group.