Villar assures DPWH 2020 budget is pork-free

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2019   •   838

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar

MANILA, Philippines – The P534.29 billion proposed budget for the year 2020 of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is free of pork barrel fund, Secretary Mark Villar assured on Tuesday.

Villar gave the assurance to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano when he defended their budget proposal before the House Committee on Appropriations.

The DPWH chief said they have shifted to line-item budgeting to ensure that the department’s budget, which is 17 percent higher than that of the previous year, has no illegal pork barrel and the anomalous practice of “parking funds” will not occur.

He added that pork barrel inclusion will not be tolerated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Villar further stated that Duterte ordered the department to implement reforms to reduce corruption.

“Everything has gone through a vigorous process of vetting and rest assured Mr. Speaker, that there is none,” he said.

“In fact, we have implemented already a software system for the whole DPWH and this is the first of its kind. We monitor projects through the system application called the CMPA (Contract Management Procedures and Application System) that helps us,” he added.

The DPWH chief noted that their strict monitoring of infrastructure projects using this CMPA system has led to the blacklisting of around 18 contractors.

“One of the accomplishments of this system is that we blacklisted almost around 18 contractors. This has been the highest (that) it has ever been implemented in the department,” he said.

“At the same time, we track all projects via geotagging. In other words, the progress of every project will be confirmed by a satellite confirmatory photography,” he added.

Villar also assured that the DPWH’s 2020 budget is evenly distributed across the country’s regions, adding that most of the big-ticket projects are in provincial areas.

“It was really balanced based on needs,” he said.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Villar presented the DPWH strategic infrastructure programs and policies to be supported by its 2020 budget, based on the agency’s National Expenditure Program (NEP).

He also mentioned the department’s Strategic Road Map and the three major outcomes that they hope to accomplish through their 2020 budget.

These include the reduction of travel time which will be achieved through increased road network capacity and the construction of new roads and bridges for seamless transport system; the improvement of road quality and safety; and meeting the international road safety standards with the highest quality; and 4) provision of engineering solutions to road safety concerns.

Villar also reported that 4,536 flood mitigation structures were completed under the DPWH flood control accomplishments from July 2016 to May 2019.

Road accomplishments on the same period also revealed that some 9,845 kilometers of roads were constructed, maintained, widened, upgraded and rehabilitated.

Likewise, there were 2,709 bridges constructed, widened, upgraded, rehabilitated and strengthened in the same period, according to the DPWH chief.

More COVID-19 wards, ICU rooms at EAMC by end of August — DPWH

Marje Pelayo   •   August 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is working double time to complete the construction of additional wards and intensive care units (ICU) at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City.

“In a meeting, together with our team and its counterpart at the Department of Health (DOH) and the building contractor, I was assured that a system is in place to complete the EAMC facilities the soonest,” Secretary Mark Villar said.

Villar added that the facilities will be able to accommodate additional 250 patients.

The DOH tapped the DPWH to help expedite the construction of the facilities at EAMC to increase its bed capacity for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

The additional wards are expected to be completed by August 17 while the enhancement of the third floor for ICU will be finished on September 15.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar confirms he has COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar on Wednesday confirmed that he contracted the viral disease.

“I regret to announce that today, July 15, I received my test result and it is positive for COVID-19,” Villar said on his Facebook page.

Villar made the announcement a day after was designated as the government’s isolation czar.

His additional task involves putting up more quarantine facilities across the country amid the continued rise in coronavirus infections.

DPWH eyes completion of offsite dormitories for QC medical frontliners by end of June

Robie de Guzman   •   June 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The construction of six cluster dormitories for medical frontline workers in Quezon City is expected to be completed by the end of June, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said the dormitories, which are being built inside the Quezon Memorial Circle, will have 16 rooms with own toilet and bath with hot and cold water.

Each room for each dormitory cluster can accommodate 32 people or a total capacity of 192 people for six dormitories, he added.

The DPWH chief also said that the offsite dormitories are made of collapsible components fabricated to assemble 16 rooms, with spaces intended for living room, common dining, and laundry and kitchen areas.

Medical personnel of Quezon City-based hospitals such as National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, East Avenue Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Hospital, Childrens Hospital, V. Luna General Hospital, Quezon City General Hospital and other government hospitals in QC will benefit from the temporary shelter project.

Villar, together with Quezon City officials, inspected the ongoing construction of the dormitories last Friday, June 19.

The offsite dormitories were conceptualized by the DPWH Task Force for Augmentation of Health Facilities headed by Undersecretary Emil Sadain to support the need for accommodation facilities of hospital workers on the front lines of caring for COVID-19 patients.

Operation of the dormitories after its completion by the DPWH will be undertaken by the local government unit.

This is in accordance with the memorandum of agreement signed by Villar and Quezon City Mayor Belmonte in putting up ‘We Heal as One Offsite Dormitory’ solely for use by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals working in hospitals within the jurisdiction of Quezon City who need space to rest between shifts.

When the structure is no longer needed, the DPWH said the temporary dormitories can be dismantled and removed on site.

The department said each of the components can be safely stored as part of its property for other related requirements such as temporary shelter during disaster/calamity response.

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