DPWH to implement P2.8-B infra projects in Catanduanes

Almost P2.8 billion worth of vital infrastructure projects has been allocated for the province of Catanduanes in the 2023 General Appropriations Act and will be implemented soon by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) district and regional offices.

Public bidding of some of the 91 projects were conducted last December 2022, with the rest to be done in the first months of this year.

The Tribune tried to secure a list of the projects already bid out and awarded but the DPWH Catanduanes District Engineering Office asked this paper to file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, which has yet to be granted as of press time Sunday (Jan. 15, 2023).

Over a third of the funding has been set aside for flood control structures and river control projects, with a total of P980 million covering just 10 projects.

Three of the projects are worth P200 million each: Construction of Flood Control at Sibacungan, Bato; Construction of Road Dike along Hitoma River (Phase I) in Obi, Caramoran; and Construction of Road Dike along Hitoma River (Phase II) in Obi, Caramoran.

Three others cost more than P50 million: Construction of Pajo River Control in Virac, P170 million; Construction of Flood Mitigation Structure in Batong Paloway, San Andres, P120 million; and Construction of Flood Mitigation Structure in Tilod, Baras.

Road projects account for another third of the DPWH’s Catanduanes infra kitty, with a total of P957 million allocated for the rehabilitation of secondary roads, construction of access roads to tourism sites and construction of bypass and local roads.

Of the 32 road projects, four have project amounts of more than P100 million: Construction of Access Road leading to Virac Airport, P105 million; Imelda Boulevard, P108 million; and two rehab and reconstruction projects along the Catanduanes Circumferential Road costing P105 million each.

Multi-purpose buildings account for another 13 percent of the 2023 infra budget for Catanduanes, with 20 projects costing a total of over P375 million.

But more than half of the amount will be spent for just two projects of P100 million each: the Construction of Multi-Purpose Building at the Provincial Capitol Compound and the Construction of a Training and Instructional Facility/Meetings, Incentives, Conferences for Education, Sports (MICES) Building and Primary Health Center in an unspecified location in the province.

A source told the Tribune that the multi-purpose building to be built at the capitol is allegedly the governor’s mansion and guest house, with funding reportedly secured by a Bicolano senator.

On the other hand, the MICES building will be a gymnasium or sports arena with offices to be built at the government-owned rice field at the back of the Catanduanes National High School, it is claimed.

Another multi-million MPB is the Catanduanes People’s Center to be erected somewhere in the capital town of Virac.

Five other projects involve the rehabilitation of MPBs damaged by past typhoons in Bato and Virac.

The list also includes 18 solar-powered water systems costing a total of P235 million, with P80 million going to a Level II water system in Virac.

Only four seawall projects costing a total of P100 million will be undertaken by the DPWH this year, with P50 million to go to the project in Comagaycay, San Andres and P30 million to Batalay, Bato.

The balance of the 2023 infra budget for Catanduanes will go to a drainage project along the Bato-Baras road (P10 million), road widening at the national road (P40 million), replacement and construction of bridges (P86 million) and construction and rehab of water systems (P15 million).

A reliable source told the Tribune that there may be additional infra projects for Catanduanes under the DPWH as the 2023 budget still has about P70 billion in so-called “discretionary” funds for distribution among districts by either Malacanang or Congress.

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