Local DPWH officials await authority to implement Boracay road rehab project

AKLAN, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways' (DPWH) regional office in Western Visayas is waiting for the agency's special delegated authority to implement the improvement of the Manoc-Manoc to Yapak road in Boracay Island initially funded with P490 million ($9.23 million)*

The road widening is a top priority project of the Boracay inter-agency task force, following the temporary closure of the prime tourist destination.

Aklan District Engineer Noel Puentebella has asked the endorsement of DPWH Regional Director Wenceslao Leano Jr, for the special authority approval of DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.

The agency limits the authority of a district engineering office to implement big-ticket construction projects to those not exceeding P100 million ($1.89 million). Regional directors are authorized to approve the program of work, and to procure and implement projects that are up to P300 million ($5.65) in cost.

The revised delegated authority to regional directors and district engineers is covered by Department Order 20 issued on January 31, 2018.

"Kailangan lang natin ang approval ng ating DPWH secretary para sa Boracay project para ma-implement at maumpisahan (We just need the approval of our DPWH secretary for the Boracay project so we can implement and start this)," said Fritz Ruiz, chief of the planning and design division of the Aklan District Engineering Office.

Once project bidding at the DPWH regional office is completed, the Boracay road construction will start as soon as possible to meet an October deadline.

The P490 million which was released by the Department of Budget and Management on June 1 will involve concreting of 3 sections of a 5.26-kilometer (km) narrow road from Cagban-Manoc Manoc to Balabag.

"Itong budget ay aabot lamang ang construction ng kalsada malapit sa Elizalde sa Balabag. Kailangan ang additional budget sa road network mula Balabag Plaza to Yapak (This budget covers only the road construction near Elizalde in Balabag. We need additional budget for the road network from Balabag Plaza to Yapak)," Ruiz clarified.

As of June 7, the DPWH reported that 244 structures and obstructions were partially or totally demolished within the 12-meter road right-of-way.

Also, 94% of the 1.46-km stretch from Cagban to Manoc-Manoc Rotunda is already workable, while 75% of the 3.80-km stretch from Rotunda to Mt. Luho Junction is also cleared.

A total of 1,075 truckloads of debris were disposed at a staging area in Balabag. Meanwhile, some 92 trees affected by the road widening project in Boracay Island have to be cut.

The Aklan Electric Cooperative (Akelco) has already started relocating 6 of its 471 electric posts in the island.

DPWH has also fast-tracked the P50-million ($941,279.50) construction of a two-lane, 6-meter wide carriageway to complete the Boracay Circumferential Road. The project will help address traffic along the main road, and reduce travel time from Cagban jetty port in Manoc-Manoc to other areas in the island. – Rappler.com

*US$1 = P53.08