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Of Bridges and Highways

By Danica Supnet

It wouldn’t surprise me if the owner of the hotel where I am staying named the place “Otel Pampanga.” The “Kabalens” (ethno linguistic groups in Region III) usually speak words without the letter “H”. Engr. Magpayo and her team will be fetching me in the hotel at eight o’clock in the morning for another local tracking road trip in Pampanga.

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The site is located in Angeles, Pampanga about a thirty minute ride from San Fernando. The project was designed to rehabilitate the damaged slope protection and to construct the extension of the said project. The project also includes the repair of Mancatian Bridge along Angeles-Porac Road. The damages were due to the 2009 typhoons.

 

Division Chief Engr. Irma Talens and Assistant Division Chief Engr. Rodolfo David reiterated that the projects are very important to strengthen the foundation of the roads system in Region III in preparation for upcoming disasters.

According to them, from the PhP 246,000,000.00 loan from JICA, DPWH-Region III received PhP 84, 077,652.50 allocated for the RB 41 projects. According to Engr. David, RB 41 received the 2012 JICA loan which was issued September 19, 2012. The budget was based on an estimated cost of construction as agreed in a contract by their team (including Engr. Magpayo, Engr. Soriano, the Bureau of Design and the DPWH investigation and surveying team) as well as Northern Builders (the contractor that won the bidding for RB 41).

At present they are still utilizing the funding that was given by JICA since most of the projects are yet to be finished. However, Engr. Talens contests that if additional funding will be needed, the budget will come from the region or district (depending on the additional cost needed).

(L-R) Interview with Engr. Marissa Miguel (Assistant Regionak Maintenance Engineer), Engr. Rodolfo David (Assistant Division Chief), Engr. Irma Talens (Division Chief), and Engr. Juanafe Magpayo (Project Engineer)

(L-R) Interview with Engr. Marissa Miguel (Assistant Regionak Maintenance Engineer), Engr. Rodolfo David (Assistant Division Chief), Engr. Irma Talens (Division Chief), and Engr. Juanafe Magpayo (Project Engineer)

The implementation of the project was directly coordinated to the Regional office because the districts are limited to implementing a maximum of PhP 50,000,000.000 project cost. Northern Builders directly communicate with Engr. Magpayo’s team. As of July 31, 2014, the total amount of disbursed funding is PhP 38, 580, 811.00, about a one fourth of the allocated budget. Based on their current assessment, the projects are set to be finished on October 4, 2014, a lot later than the original March 25, 2013 date of completion.

The directors assured me that the project-end users (the district officers and the barangay) will be in-charge of maintaining the projects in their area, but must closely report to the Regional office for any updates. On the other hand, the Region directly reports to the National officer (Engr. Cyndi Argote of the Bureau of Maintainance, Roads and Highways Division).

DPWH Regional Office

DPWH Regional Office

Both directors believe that it is important to include the “non-material factors” (climate change was cited as an example) in the project planning process, focusing on the vulnerability of the area (DPWH uses a surveying database to accurately assess the area). This, according to them, is to ensure that the structures such as highways and bridges that they describe as “high risk” would give security to the stakeholders.

 

Editor’s Note: This blog is part of the series of blogs on the local tracking of JICA funded adaptation projects implemented by DPWH. Read more about DPWH by clicking in the links Back on Track, Road Trip Local Tracking

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