Public Works and Highways Secretary Roger Mercado reminded top and field officials of the department to ensure that all contractors ensure they follow all health and safety protocols in all ongoing projects.
This as he lauded them for their considerable progress achieved on the construction of structural measures implemented by DPWH Unified Project Management Office Flood Control Management Cluster since the project started in 2018, particularly at the downstream portion of the Cagayan de Oro River.
Meeting with the DPWH Unified Directors Meeting last March 25 in Cagayan de Oro City, Mercado announced he had approved the release of P1.6 billion to augment funds needed to pursue the maintenance of the country's national highways.
He was able to source these funds by tapping the Special Support Fund of the General Appropriations Act to augment the requirements for highway maintenance. This is because of the limited funds allotted to DPWH under the 2022 budget.
His experience as chair of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways came in handy now that he is at the helm of the government principal construction agency.
He acknowledged the major challenges brought by limited available funds in the 2022 budget for highway maintenance, right of way payment, and counterpart fund to support foreign-assisted flagship infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build Program.
Hosted by DPWH Regional Office 10 headed by Regional Director Zenaida T. Tan, this fifth meeting under the leadership of the secretary was attended by the Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Regional Directors, Project Directors, Service Directors, and Bureau Directors including District Engineers of Northern Mindanao.
In every monthly meeting with his undersecretaries and regional directors, he does not fail to exhort them to render their best service to the public.He wanted the DPWH to ramp up efforts to substantially and sustainably contribute to the country’s socio-economic development and recovery.
“We must work together as a team to deliver more infrastructure for the welfare of the Filipino people by attaining the level of performance we can be proud of,” he said.
Stressing the need to optimize all available resources, Mercado said, “Let us continue to be mindful of our mandate by continually improving the absorptive capacity or financial accomplishments so that the budget allotted for infrastructure projects will be delivered to completion at the right time with the right quality.”
Before the meeting, Secretary Mercado and other top officials inspected the ongoing works at a flood control project in Cagayan de Oro River in Misamis Oriental.He was joined by Undersecretary and Build Build Build Chief Implementer Emil K. Sadain in inspecting various components of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-assisted Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan de Oro River (FRIMP-CDOR).
Undersecretary Sadain, under whom the DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations, said the project was conceived after the trail of destruction by Tropical Storm Sendong in December 2011, triggering flooding and landslides and resulting to loss of lives and properties.
Prioritized under the President Rodrigo Duterte administration as among the flagship infrastructure projects in the Build, Build, Build Program, FRIMP-CDOR has a flood risk management design of a 50-year flood return period and with consideration on the impact of global climate change.
Considerable progress has been achieved on the construction of structural measures implemented by DPWH UPMO Flood Control Management Cluster (UPMO-FCMC) since the project started in 2018, particularly at the downstream portion of the Cagayan de Oro River.
Mercado also instructed UPMO-FCMC Project Director Ramon A. Arriola III to ensure strict adherence of the contractors and consultants to health and construction safeguard measures with due compliance to the set project timelines by expediting work especially during this summer season.
Also present during the project inspection were DPWH Undersecretaries Eugenio R. Pipo Jr. and Maximo L. Carvajal; Assistant Secretaries Ador G. Canlas and Rolito D. Manalo; Region 10 Director Zenaida T. Tan; and UPMO Project Directors Benjamin A. Bautista, Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim, Rodrigo I. Delos Reyes, and Johnson V. Domingo.