The Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have agreed to develop a master plan for construction of a new road network throughout the Philippines. 

Both DPWH and JICA have signed an agreement for the second phase of the JICA-assisted High Standard Highway (HSH) Network Development Master Plan. 

In the second phase, a study team from JICA along with the DPWH officials will assess the overall conditions and problems of the areas in Metro Manila, Visayas group of islands, and Mindanao for 18 months.

The assessment will focus on the existing national road and expressway network and development plans, regional connectivity, formulating future traffic demand, and identify issues of national road and expressway. 

"The team will also focus on the network’s resilience against disasters and hazards."

The team will also focus on the network's resilience against disasters and hazards as presented in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan 2011-28.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said that the new agreement would further support the Philippines infrastructure development and economic growth, as expanding the expressway network is intended to eventually diminish the economic disparities across the country. 

In July 2010, DPWH and JICA formulated a master plan for HSH Network Development Phase I, which included the development of expressway network, construction new bypass and ring roads at regional cities, as well as expanding the existing roads to address traffic congestion, particularly in highly urbanised areas. 

Image: DPWH secretary Mark Villar and JICA Philippines Office chief representative Susumo Ito signing the records of discussion (RD). Photo: courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways.