By Raymund Antonio
To meet its 2019 target on time, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has commenced and inaugurated big-ticket projects under the Build, Build, Build program for the first quarter of the year, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said on Sunday.
Villar was referring to major projects, such as the groundbreaking of Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) – SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) Connector Road, Cavite Segment of Cavite-Laguna Expressway, and SLEX Toll Road 4, and inauguration of NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10.
“This year, we will also complete the remaining section of Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway and feasibility studies for the 19.2-kilometer Panay-Guimaras-Negros Link Bridge as well as 23-kilometer Davao City Expressway,” he said.
On top of these projects, DPWH would also construct a total of 1,101 kilometers of new high standard highways and expressways in Luzon, Cebu and Davao and the Luzon Spine Expressway Network as well.
The implementation of the Luzon Spine Expressway Network project will “cut travel time from Ilocos to Bicol from 19 hours to just eight hours,” said Villar.
An accomplishment report from DPWH showed that it has completed the construction, maintenance, improvement, and rehabilitation of a total of 6,157 kilometers of national roads since July 2016 when the Build, Build, Build program started.
Under the infrastructure program, a total of 2,680 bridges nationwide was also constructed and rehabilitated from July 2016 to December 2018 while 3,066 flood mitigation structures nationwide were completed during the same period.
According to Villar, the DPWH’s major accomplishments in the past year included the widening of Ma-a Bridge in Davao City, Anduyan Bridge in La Union, and the Plaridel By-Pass Road Phase II in Bulacan.
The others were the NLEX Harbor Link, Pasig Marikina River Channel Project, Laguna Lake Expressway, and the Cagayan de Oro Coastal Road.
The DPWH has also implemented massive road rehabilitation and improvement of Boracay Circumferential Road in time for the reopening of the new Boracay in October 2018.
With these accomplishments, Villar commended DPWH officials and personnel for their “hard work and dedication” leading to the completion of what he said were “vital infrastructure projects that now benefit millions of Filipinos nationwide.”
The DPWH chief is hopeful that they will be able to sustain last year’s absorptive capacity performance.
“We are anticipating the signing of the 2019 budget soon so we can expedite the implementation of public works projects and hopefully sustain what we have accomplished in the last two years with record-breaking 92 percent,” Villar said.
“At the end of the day, all these numbers translate to better, safer and more efficient road network and an integrated seamless transport service to every Filipino across the country,” he added.