July 24, 2022

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DPWH eyes 3,000 NCR projects for next year

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is proposing around 3,000 infrastructure projects worth P53 billion in Metro Manila next year.

Nomer Abel P. Canlas, regional director for DPWH-National Capital Region (NCR), said that the number of proposed projects for next year would be significantly higher than the 1,600 projects worth P43 billion approved for 2022.

“For the whole region, we have 3,000 proposed projects, but our wish list is subject to change depending on the policy direction and priorities of (Public Works Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan),” he told BusinessWorld in a phone interview last week.

Most of the proposed projects in NCR are buildings such as hospital and school facilities as well as housing facilities inside military and police camps, Mr. Canlas said.

Mr. Canlas identified two major projects for NCR — the underground cable system and water impounding project.

The proposed P300-million underground cable project involves relocating the overhead utility lines on major roads below ground. This will cover Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), Radial Road 10 (R-10), and Circumferential Road 5 (C-5).

“We hope we can start this along EDSA so the public can see the impact immediately, then R-10 and C5,” Mr. Canlas said.

The DPWH’s vision for the capital region is to move all utility lines underground, he said, citing safety, convenience, and aesthetics.

Underground cables help avoid accidents like electrocution, Mr. Canlas added.

Various groups have urged the government to consider underground cables as part of its disaster resiliency strategy to prevent massive blackouts during calamities.

Mr. Canlas said another DPWH priority is the construction of water impounding facilities in selected areas.

“These (proposed locations are Sto. Domingo Church, 537 Quezon Avenue Sta. Mesa Heights in Quezon City; National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City; and St. Paul Street, Barangay Veinte Reales in Valenzuela City,” he said.

The DPWH recently completed the P92-million rehabilitation of a drainage structure along E. Quintos Street in Sampaloc, Manila.

Many areas in Metro Manila are low-lying and prone to flooding, while natural drainage is often restricted during rainfall events by high river and sea water levels, according to the World Bank.

The DPWH said in May that civil works had started on a major pumping station serving a flood-prone area in Valenzuela City. The station is being implemented by DPWH Metro Manila third District Engineering Office and is “expected to address the city’s perennial flooding problem as well as of neighboring areas along Meycauayan River,” it said in a statement.

Under the DPWH’s flood management master plan for the Greater Metro Manila area, one of the proposed measures is the application of rainwater catchment system that will enable some communities to store rainwater for reuse instead of allowing it to run off into a waterway.