Bonoan vows to complete unfinished flagship projects
Newly-installed Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan has a “daunting task” to complete the unfinished flagship projects of the previous administration and advocate for new infrastructure initiatives.
By Maria Romero,Bonoan formally assumed his role as DPWH chief from Acting Secretary Roger G. Mercado in a turnover ceremony last 1 July at the DPWH Central Office Multi-Purpose Hall in Port Area, Manila.,“Let us work together, let us continue working as a team”, Bonoan told DPWH officials, who he convened immediately after the ceremony to lay out his policies and priorities.,Bonoan, a professional civil engineer, was picked by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to lead the public works department.,He has extensive experience as a public servant that started at DPWH as early as 1966, spanning four decades until his retirement in 2010 as Senior Undersecretary.,His practice as a professional civil engineer continued when he joined the private sector and became a top executive of one of the leading companies engaged in the construction, management, and operation of expressway networks.,Golden Era stalled,According to an accomplishment report by the DPWH last April, only 12 out of 119 infrastructure flagship projects (IFP) were completed totaling P70.65 billion or 1.4 percent of the P5.08 trillion total cost of investments to complete all the projects.,Emil Sadain, who was also the chief implementer of flagship projects under the Build, Build, Build (BBB) program, pointed out that several challenges hampered the project developments. These included contract management, planning, technical operation, road right-of-way acquisitions, fiscal management, and loan utilization and expiration, among others.,In terms of cost, the top three completed projects were the P21.96-billion MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project, the P18-billion New Clark City Phase 1, and the P14.97-billion Clark International Airport Expansion Project.,During the Duterte administration, infrastructure spending hit a high 5.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), which was “far beyond normal standard” at 5 percent of the GDP.,Despite the delays, DPWH said 12 projects are expected to be completed by the end of the year — including the P75-billion MRT 7, P65.39-billion Metro Manila Skyway Stage, P45.29-billion Southeast Metro Manila Expressway, and P12.64-billion C5 Southlink Expressway.,In his inaugural speech last Thursday, Marcos Jr. vowed to implement a “comprehensive infrastructure plan” building on the flagship BBB program of his predecessor former President Rodrigo Duterte.,“We will continue to build. I will complete on schedule the projects that have been started. I am not interested in taking credit. I want to build on the success that’s already happening,” Marcos said.