The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) claims that now is the time for big infrastructure spending.
Speaking before the Senate Committee on Public Works, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar committed to increasing the office’s utilization rate and bringing to fruition projects that will “create livable cities”. Among the priorities mentioned in his report were decongestion of the metropolises and development at the countryside, integrated water resources management, and expansion and improvement of pedestrian infrastructure.
DPWH is pushing for pedestrian-centered developments to promote “cleaner modes of transportation”. This is also attuned with the suggestion of Urban Planner and Architect Felino Palafox, Jr., who noted that planning in the Philippines has been largely car-oriented when “those who have less in wheel should have more in roads”.
The Department is also seeking to address flooding in the country with better human and technical resources. Part of its initiatives include the recruitment of more flood-control engineers and the use of hazard maps in drafting master plans, particularly for the country’s 18 major river basins.
Secretary Villar also expressed optimism in finishing big-ticket projects, such as the NAIA Expressway, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), and North Luzon Expressway Harbor Lake, within the next months and/or years. He added that with improved methodologies and accelerated implementation, “[we] can significantly decongest our major cities.”
Meanwhile, the panel of legislators shared the same sentiment about the country’s lagging urban development and meager infrastructural investments. Senator JV Ejercito said one of the Philippines’s weakest points is infrastructure, prompting investors to “shy away from investing in the country”. He underscored the need for long-term blueprints that will sustain developments regardless of leadership. In response to this, Secretary Villar asserted that DPWH already has comprehensive plans in place, and this will be pivoted by the bigger budget appropriated by the present administration.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri raised the possibility of integrating the concept of inclusive mobility in the DPWH projects. Senator Nancy Binay, on the other hand, stressed the need to put up a mechanism to save water during the rainy days, for use in the dry season.
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