MAASIN CITY—More big infrastructure projects are expected to be implemented in Southern Leyte this year as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) increased its budget for the province.
DPWH Southern Leyte District Engr. Ma. Margarita C. Junia said the budget for the projects this year amounted to P2.2 billion, an increase of P500 million, as compared to the P1.7 billion spent for the province last year.
“Our 89 projects this year will cover the widening of major roads, building new bridges and a diversion road, and construction of slope-protection structures within the primary and secondary highways,” Junia said.
It will also focus on the replacement of aging bridges and the widening from two lanes to four lanes of the major highway to complement the massive road-widening projects in Southern Leyte over the past years.
Among the priority projects of the DPWH is the construction of a concrete bridge that will link the towns of San Ricardo and Liloan. Once completed, the bridge is expected to unlock the tourism potential of the southernmost villages of the province.
Improving accessibility to key ports and other production areas, as well as building and upgrading local access roads to various economic zones and tourism destinations, is included in the allocation.
The road will also ease accessibility for those traveling to Mindanao and will increase traffic at the port in San Ricardo town for vehicles going to Surigao.
“We were able to bid out more than 50 percent of the 89 projects under the 2018 outlay. We are waiting for the approval of some proposed modifications for projects under the regular infrastructure program and, as soon as funds are released, we will immediately award the projects,” Junia noted.
Aside from the road and bridge projects, the DPWH will construct 115 academic, secondary and senior high-school buildings amounting to P1.2 billion under the Basic Education Facilities Fund of the Department of Education.
These projects are on top of the 299 kilometers of national roads and 155 bridges being maintained by the DPWH within the province’s 18 towns and one city.
Also up for implementation are a host of flood-control projects amounting to P458.65 million this year aimed at protecting low-lying areas in the province from overflowing rivers.
The multimillion peso projects include the construction of embankments along riverbanks and coastlines considered as flood-prone areas in Southern Leyte.
In her report to Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar, Junia said the construction of concrete barriers is a practical solution to the problem of overflowing and erosion along the province’s riverbanks.
The DPWH will construct flood-control structures in the following areas: 12 projects will be built in Sogod town; two projects each in Libagon, San Francisco and San Juan; and one project each in the towns of Malitbog, Hinunangan, Bontoc, Saint Bernard, Silago and Macrohon.
“Our main objective is to safeguard the lives and properties of the people in the areas mostly affected by flooding occurrences,” Junia said.
In 2017 the DPWH implemented six flood-control projects along the largest river in Southern Leyte, the Subang Daku River in the town of Sogod, costing a total of P278.24 million.