DPWH admits hiring Chinese workers in two infra projects

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2020   •   290

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has admitted to hiring Chinese workers in two infrastructure projects funded by China.

During a Senate hearing on Wednesday (October 14), Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan questioned the number of Chinese workers in several critical infrastructure projects of the government.

The Estrella-Pantaleon bridge project has 31% Chinese workers, while 69% are Filipino workers. In the Binondo-Intramuros project, 45% are Chinese workers while 55% are Filipino workers.

“We have many ways of being able to push for local employment over foreign employment. Mataas ang 45% (45% is high), mataas ang 31% (31% is high), no matter how you look at it,” Pangilinan said.

The senator stressed the need to put more local workers in the construction industry and noted the 30% decline of employment in the said sector due to the pandemic.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar clarified that none of the contracts require hiring of foreign nationals, but the foreign workers were needed for their technical skills and specialization in modern technology.

Villar also assured to prioritize Filipino workers in future projects and will support local manufacturers and locally-made products.

“We will always be one in this desire to increase job creation in our country and we will only allow foreign [workers] when it is absolutely necessary for certain technical skills,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Duterte may create independent team to probe alleged corruption in DPWH – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may form a separate task force to investigate the alleged widespread corruption within the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president would prefer an independent body although the task force created by the DPWH is a start.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar earlier ordered the creation of a five-member task force to probe and file charges against officials and employees allegedly involved in the corrupt practices.

Roque, however, noted that some have raised doubt if it can succeed in exercising its functions as “it’s the same people investigating one another.”

The Palace also urged the public to give DPWH the chance to fight and rid the agency of corruption. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Portion of Tagaytay Bypass road now open to motorists – DPWH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Maitim and Kaybagal sections of the ongoing four-lane Tagaytay Bypass Road Project in Tagaytay City, Cavite are now open to vehicular traffic, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar led the inauguration Wednesday of the 1.54-kilometer road segment which is also features a bike lane.

The opened segments are part of the 8.59-kilometer Tagaytay Bypass Road that will divert traffic from the congested roads of Tagaytay City, which run through Luksuhin, Sikat, Zambal, Guinhawa, Patutong Malaki, Balagbag, Salaban, Kaybagal, and Maitim road sections.

“The opening of these two sections is only the beginning as we have been prioritizing the inclusion of Tagaytay Bypass Road Project in the national budget since 2018,” Villar said in a statement.

When completed, the Tagaytay Bypass Road is expected to reduce the travel time from Alfonso towards Tagaytay City to only 20 minutes from the usual 53 minutes.

Aside from the Maitim and Kaybagal Section, the DPWH said it is currently implementing road opening and concreting at the 746-meter Balagbag Section, road opening of 1.32-kilometer Salaban Section, road concreting of 590-meter Guinhawa Section; and road opening and concreting of 580-meter Patuto Section 3.

The DPWH said it has so far released P466.24 million for the ongoing and completed sections of the bypass road project.

The entire stretch of Tagaytay Bypass road will also have a separated bike lane, as per Secretary Villar’s Department Order 88 series of 2020 which requires the inclusion of bike lanes in all future national road and bridge projects.

Gov’t signs P3.03-B contract for detailed engineering design of soon to rise Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project

Marje Pelayo   •   October 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Tuesday (October 20) signed the P3.03-billion contract for the detailed engineering design (DED) of a planned 32-kilometer bridge over Manila Bay.

The Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project is expected to reduce the current five-hour travel time between the provinces of Bataan and Cavite to around 30 minutes.

Specifically, a 32-kilometer bridge with two lanes in each direction will be built across Manila Bay and connect Brgy. Alas-asin in Mariveles, Bataan to Brgy. Timalan, Naic, Cavite. 

According to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, this Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project will provide a permanent road linkage between the two provinces in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog Region in order to reduce the journey time and ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

The official added that other than reducing travel time and lower vehicle operating costs, the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project will provide opportunities for expansion outside Metro Manila for economic growth.

It will also support development of seaports of Cavite and Bataan as the premier international shipping gateway to the country.

The DPWH said the project which is expected to start in November this year targets to finish in January 2022.

It will be funded by an additional financing for the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) under a signed loan agreement last December 2019 between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Department of Finance.

Once completed, it will become the largest and longest iconic bridge in the region. MNP / Jasper Barangan

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