MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong Marcos Jr. wants all bridges already under construction to be completed as soon as possible, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Friday.
DPWH Secretary Manual Bonoan allayed lawmakers’ concerns over the unfinished bridges in their respective districts during the House Appropriations Committee budget hearing.
Bonoan said one of the specific instructions of the President was to complete all started bridges “at the earliest possible time because we recognize actually the importance of the bridges that will cross the major rivers, which will provide efficient transport network.”
The bridge program is part of PBBM’s “Build Better More Program” to sustain the administration’s continued push for infrastructure development for “efficient transport and logistics system for goods and services.”
Among those in line to be completed is the 3.77-kilometer Panguil Bay Bridge which will connect Tangub City in Misamis Occidental and Tubod town, Lanao del Norte.
The bridge, currently at nearly 60-percent completion, is expected to cut travel time between Tangub City and Tubod from two and a half hours to just seven minutes.
Bonoan said the DPWH is committed to complete the project by December 2023, including an assurance that President Marcos himself will be present to inaugurate the said bridge.
“I will personally convey to the President about this project, and certainly, I will make a representation for the President to actually come to the site. This is going to be the first big project that probably the President will inaugurate,” Bonoan said.
Another bridge being eyed for completion is the PHP1.5-billion, 548-meter Las Nieves Bridge in Agusan del Norte that will connect the residents of 11 villages situated on the other side of the Agusan River to the town center.
“I can assure that we will attend to the requirements (of the bridge). We will review all the allocations,” Bonoan said.
Flood control projects
Bonoan also assured that flood control projects will be prioritized under the Marcos administration.
The 2023 National Expenditure Program has earmarked PHP168.9 billion for flood control.
The DPWH has already completed some of the master plans to “specifically address” major flooding in the country’s 18 major river basins, according to Bonoan.
“Some of them are being implemented through official development assistance and through local funds. I think these are some of the big-ticket projects under flood control. But we are also trying to help and address the flooding problems in specific municipalities and cities,” he said.
One of the major problems being encountered by the DPWH in flood control is the “outdated and antiquated drainage systems”.
“One of the things we have found out is that because of population growth and urban development, most of the urban cities, including Metro Manila for that matter, the absorption capacity for runoff water is no longer there because everything is being paved. So, the water runoff has to go through a drainage system. So, it’s no longer able to convey the runoff water to be discharged to the major rivers,” he said.