Mercado formally assumes post as DPWH secretary

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2021   •   365

MANILA, Philippines—Newly appointed secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Roger Mercado formally assumed his post on Thursday (October 14).

During a turnover ceremony, former secretary Mark Villar handed over the stewardship of DPWH to Mercado. This was after President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Mercado on October 12.

Villar stepped down as the department secretary to run for senator in the 2022 national elections.

“It is an honor to work with the professional men and women of DPWH and to be able to continue oversee the completion of Department’s flagship infrastructure programs and projects,” Mercado said.

He also vowed to sustain the current momentum in the department in order to “deliver more high-impact projects that will benefit the Filipino people including those living in remote communities.” AAC

Southbound portion of Roxas Boulevard to be closed on January 15 – MMDA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The southbound portion of Roxas Boulevard will be closed to vehicular traffic starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday, January 15, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced.

In an advisory, the MMDA said the partial road closure is to give way to the repair of the damaged box culvert of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in front of Libertad Pumping Station in Pasay City.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said the rehabilitation must be done immediately by the DPWH on the southbound lane of Roxas Boulevard, fronting HK Sun Plaza in Pasay City going to the flyover of EDSA-Roxas Boulevard.

“According to DPWH, because of the structural integrity of their project, the structure might weaken,” Abalos said.

“The agency has laid down alternate routes for affected motorists. Likewise, directional traffic signs will also be placed at strategic locations to better guide the public,” he added.

Motorists may opt to take the following routes:

For Light Vehicles:

  • From Bonifacio Drive/Roxas Boulevard: take Roxas Blvd.-Buendia Avenue service road, turn right at Buendia Avenue Extension then left at Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard going to destination
  • From Bonifacio Drive/Roxas Boulevard: turn right at HK Sun Plaza access road then left at Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard to destination
  • From Bonifacio Drive/Roxas Boulevard: left at Pres. Quirino Avenue to destination

For trucks/trailers and other vehicles from Bonifacio Drive going to Roxas Boulevard southbound:

All heavy vehicles/trucks/trailers may turn left to P. Burgos Avenue, straight towards Finance Road and Ayala Boulevard, then right to San Marcelino Street, take P. Quirino Avenue to South Luzon Expressway to destination.

Engr. Neomie Recio, Director of MMDA Traffic Engineering Center, assured that the agency will deploy enforcers to manage the traffic in the area.

“Once closed, we will deploy additional traffic enforcers for the entire duration of the rehabilitation. We will also implement a zipper lane or counterflow scheme for light vehicles, but on a case-to-case basis,” Recio said.

For his part, Mikunug Macud, district engineer of DPWH South Manila District Engineering Office, said the closure and repair works would last for 60 calendar days.

Moreover, the MMDA chief asked for understanding from the public as the temporary closure of Roxas Boulevard southbound is necessary for safety.

“We are appealing for the public’s understanding as to the inconvenience the temporary road closure would cause. But this is necessary to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians,” Abalos said.

Currently, 887 cargo trucks and 1,029 trailers per day are traversing the Roxas Boulevard southbound direction alone.

Duterte tells DPWH to relocate residents in no-build zones

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to coordinate with local government units (LGU) and other agencies in relocating informal settlers in Cebu displaced by Typhoon Odette.

In a pre-recorded meeting with government officials, Duterte said the DPWH should work with LGUs for possible resettlement of families who will be relocated from “no-build zones” or areas deemed dangerous to reside in.

“Alam mo you need to talk to the mayors — well, pati governors, but more importantly is how the mayor would govern his city or municipality kasi sila lang ang makaturo kung saan lilipat ‘tong mga ‘to,” Duterte said.

“Ang akin kasi, I do not want to dismantle or to destroy houses unless there is a relocation site. Malaki nga ang problema mo diyan sa totoo lang. When you begin to bulldoze those houses there, you have a problem in your hands and that is a social problem actually,” he added.

The president issued the directive as the DPWH reported about roads damaged by storm surge caused by Typhoon Odette, particularly the Santander-Barili-Toledo Road in Cebu.

DPWH Secretary Roger Mercado reported some portion of the pavement and even houses were destroyed after the typhoon hit Cebu, stressing the road must be constructed with permanent improvements.

Mercado said the DPWH will try its best to negotiate with the residents and convince them to relocate because of the dangers posed by staying near the coastline.

At the same time, the DPWH head said he issued a department order strictly implementing the road right-of-way provision of the law, as well as the no-build zone policy.

In a no-build zone, no structure should be built within the 40 meters from the centerline going towards the shore, he explained. In this case, the residents have violated the guideline because their houses are within the 40-meter no-build zone.

The DPWH said it will need P50 million to fund the permanent improvement, adding a seawall and drainage system have to be built to protect the structure from another storm surge.

“I am calling the planning and the finance and tomorrow we will — will continue to scour for money and hopefully we can report to you that — so that you will be happy, Mr. President. We will be resourceful,” Mercado said.

The DPWH chief said they have requested for augmentation fund from their savings but because of the damage, their request must be amended to fund the construction of the Santander-Barili Road section.

The project could be completed within three to four months with massive infusion of equipment and non-stop work of government contractors, he added.


Some roads in Odette-hit areas still closed to traffic – DPWH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 22, 2021

Twelve roads in four regions remain impassable following the onslaught of Typhoon Odette, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DPWH said the following roads are still closed to traffic:

• Puerto Princesa North Road (SO0030PW), K0081+223 Langogan Bridge, Brgy Langogan, Puerto Princesa City due to damaged bridge;
• Puerto Princesa North Road, Tagburos Bridge II, K0016+587, Puerto Princesa City due to damaged bridge approach, fallen trees & utility post;
• Tagbilaran North Road (TNR) (Tagbilaran-Jetafe Sect) – Guiwanon, Maribojoc due to soil erosion and fallen trees;
• Cebu-Toledo Wharf Road in Cebu due to fallen trees and electric posts and debris;
• Toledo-Pinamungajan Aloguinsan-Mantalongon Road, Brgy. Cabitoonan, Toledo City due to fallen electrical posts;
• Sariling Bridge, Malabuyoc, Cebu due to damaged/collapsed bridge abutment A, revetment washed-out;
• Santander-Barili-Toledo Road K00178+800 – K0180+000, Intermittent sections, Brgy. Madridejos, Alegria, Cebu due to damaged/collapsed pavement at intermittent sections due to scouring and damaged seawall from strong waves; fallen trees, electric posts and other debris;
• Bais-Kabankalan Road, two (2) sections in Brgy. Manlipac, Bais City, Negros Oriental due to soil collapse;
• Misamis Oriental – Bukidnon – Agusan Road, K1463+503 – K1463+528, Brgy. Siloo, Malitbog, Bukidnon due to damaged newly constructed spillway at Siloo Bridge;
• Butuan City – Cagayan de Oro City – Iligan City Road, Old Mambayaan Bridge due to damaged bridge;
• Sta. Filomena – Bonbonon – Digkilaan, Rogongon Road, K1562+300, Sitio Salinsing and Purok Lindaban, Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte due to landslide and soil collapse; and
• Dinagat-Loreto Road K0014+0800 to K0014+0900, Mahayahay, San Jose, Dinagat Islands due to road slip.

The DPWH also reported that the following five roads in Odette-hit areas are still hardly passable:

• Puerto Princesa North Road, Tanabag Bridge II, Maoyon Bridge, San Rafael Bridge, Concepcion Bridge, Olanguan Bridge, Babuyan Bridge in Puerto Princesa due to damaged bridge approach, fallen trees, and utility posts, and debris flow;
• Jct. SH Impasug-ong – Patulangan By-Pass Rd, K1484+550 – K1484+555 (S00610MN) in Bukidnon due to soil erosion;
• Dinagat-Loreto Road, K0015+0100 to K0015+0200, Mahayahay, San Jose, Dinagat Islands due to fallen trees;
• NJR Bah-Bah-Talacogon Rd. in Brgy, Lucena, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur due to damaged Detour Road, Damaged Bailey Bridge, Flooding, and Soil Slope Collapse; and
• NRJ Bayugan-Calaitan-Tandag Road in Brgy. Berseba, Bayugan due to road cut and sinking/collapsed pavement.

The department said it has so far reopened 34 roads.

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, December 22, the DPWH estimates damage to infrastructure of Typhoon Odette to have reached P585.8-Million.

Citing a report from the DPWH Bureau of Maintenance, DPWH Secretary Roger Mercado said that of the amount, P231.9 million was recorded in Region 4-B, P35.5 million in Region 6, P173.4 million in Region 8, and P145 million in Region 13.

“Other regions have yet to submit report on estimated damage to roads, bridges, and flood-control structures,” the DPWH said.

An Immediate Response Fund of P100 Million was released for the clearing/response operations in Regions 6, 7, 8, 10, and 13, it added.


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