Sunset Boulevard partially opens as DPWH celebrates 126th anniversary

By Mariela Angella Oladive

The public can now enjoy a section of the P2.07 billion Iloilo North Bank Road, also known as Sunset Boulevard in Iloilo City, following its partial opening on June 23, coinciding with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)’s 126th anniversary celebration.

The event featured various activities including a fun run, tree-planting, and Zumba dance, attended by former Senator Franklin Drilon, Uswag Partylist Representative Jojo Ang, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., DPWH Regional Director Engineer Oropel, and Assistant Regional Director Jose Al Fruto.

Spanning 4.972 kilometers from Barangay Tabucan, Mandurriao to Barangay Cagbang, Oton, with planned extensions to Barangay Abilay Sur, the project has a total funding requirement of P2.07 billion.

To date, P1.59 billion has been released, with P150 million allocated for 2024 and an additional P300 million proposed for 2025.

The boulevard is expected to significantly improve east-to-west connectivity within the city, alleviate traffic congestion on the Iloilo-Antique Road, and enhance overall accessibility in the region.

Drilon, who was instrumental in initiating the project, expressed his gratitude for the support received, describing it as a legacy project for both the province and Iloilo City.

“This is just to give our people a look at what the project is all about. We can proudly claim that this is one of the most beautiful avenues built by DPWH. This will prove that, when properly motivated, our public servants can deliver the best. I am very proud of my co-workers at DPWH for achieving this,” Drilon said.

Rep. Ang and Gov. Defensor also underscored the project’s significance, noting its potential to spur development and ease traffic congestion.

“This project, once just a dream and a subject of skepticism, is now a reality thanks to the Senate’s efforts. We are delighted that this project will be a game-changer for Iloilo City and province. In the near future, this area will become a central business district, significantly aiding development,” Ang said.

Defensor echoed the same enthusiasm, saying, “This project greatly benefits the province and city. Easing traffic on adjacent roads is one of its practical outcomes, in addition to enhancing the region’s beauty.”

In a separate interview, Engr. Oropel highlighted that the newly accessible section will be available for jogging and other recreational activities, with debris cleared to ensure public safety. He emphasized that this project is a monumental achievement not only for Iloilo but for the entire country.

“For now, it is only open to pedestrians, including joggers, since there are still sections that we need to improve,” he added.

As of now, Section I on the Iloilo side is 72 percent complete, while Section II on the Oton side is 90 percent complete.

Oropel further expressed gratitude for the chance to serve Region 6, highlighting his familiarity with the local terrain and language as instrumental in understanding the cultural and infrastructure needs of its constituents.

“The 126th anniversary celebration of our agency aims to gather DPWH employees and some district engineering offices, for them to witness and celebrate this excellent project. Not everyone knows about the work DPWH has done in this area, and they don’t expect this level of design. This was diligently worked on by our office,” Oropel said.

Meanwhile, the project is expected to be completed by December this year.