Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Public works chief wants Subic-Clark infra projects expedited

Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan has ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office to fast-track two major infrastructure projects in Central Luzon which are included in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Subic-Clark Development Program.

Bonoan, in his visit to this component city, reported the DPWH's fast implementation of the Manila North Road (MNR) widening project and the rehabilitation of Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo (GSO) Road.

His instruction was directed to DPWH Regional Director Alfredo Tolentino, who was recently installed to the position after his predecessor Ramon Aquino was elevated to DPWH assistant secretary.

"These projects will not only decongest traffic in Central Luzon but also in Metro Manila as it speeds up travel from the metropolis towards the Clark and Subic Economic Zone," Bonoan said.

He claimed the projects, once completed, would accelerate and improve socio-economic activities in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Olongapo, Zambales and Tarlac by increasing investment and employment opportunities in the area.

"To further improve the country's road network especially in Northern Luzon, we are conducting detailed engineering evaluation on the possible extension of North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) from Tarlac to La Union which is now included in National Economic and Development Authorities' (Neda's) list of priority projects for funding" Bonoan also said.

Last week, the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) formally turned over to the DPWH the newly rehabilitated 1.4-kilometer access road linking Manila North Road to Nlex.

Bonoan and MNTC president Jose de Jesus and other DPWH officials led the turnover ceremony.

Through a memorandum of agreement (MOA), the MNTC rehabilitated the P20-million access road and eventually transferred it to the DPWH for maintenance and monitoring, the core objective of the agency's "Bantay Lansangan" (National Road Watch) Program.

Bonoan will sign Wednesday a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the national stakeholders, represented by the lead coordinating entity, the Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN).

"Bantay Lansangan is one of the DPWH reform efforts to enjoin the participation of the stakeholders in closely monitoring the situation of national roads," Bonoan said.

The Bantay Lansangan Program is a partnership that aims to mobilize non-government and private stakeholders to work with the DPWH and other government agency in enhancing the delivery of quality national road services responsive to users needs through efficient and transparent use of public resources.

Among the national stakeholder categories that will be represented in the MOU are National Road Asset Managers, Road Service Providers, Road Users, Governance Advocates, Regulators and Enforcers, Government Anti-Graft Agencies, Citizen and Elective Representatives, Centers of Expertise, Media, and Government Development Partners.

Included in the program are monitoring and assessment of implementation and maintenance of DPWH projects, provision of vital information on national road services through media and international networking, advocacy on greater public awareness and transparency, education of stakeholders on the basic DPWH operation, and training of stakeholders on effective monitoring.

"This program will not only increase the public's access to information on DPWH projects, but it will also lessen if not totally eradicate graft and corruption in our road building and maintenance efforts," Bonoan said. (ABL)

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