MANILA � Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar on Friday renewed his commitment to lead the monitoring of the operationalization and performance-tracking of the priority infrastructure development agenda, under the government's Infrastructure Cluster (IC).
The IC has formulated its Performance and Projects Roadmap or IC PPR to serve as a major tool for monitoring and tracking the implementation and performance of project portfolios, in order to allow early detection of potential risks and initiate prompt response or resolution to emerging issues, he said in his speech during the first Tatak ng Pagbabago pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Forum on Friday in Pasay City.
Within the Cabinet Clusters System, the IC is tasked to ensure the timely and efficient delivery of quality and reliable public infrastructure, the DPWH official added.
He noted that included in the IC PPR are the close to 250 roads, bridges, airports, transportation and telecommunications projects amounting to more than PHP7 trillion.
The IC PPR includes a portfolio of 247 infrastructure programs and projects with investment requirement amount to about PhP7.2 Trillion, that have been categorized in the roadmap according to hierarchical levels depicting their implementation readiness, Villar said.
He explained that projects will be categorized Level 1, being the highest, which include undergoing procurement or with ongoing physical implementation, while projects from levels 2 to 4 represent the cluster's projects in the pre-implementation phase or earlier.
It is the cluster's goal to ensure that projects in these levels are upgraded to Level 1 status in the shortest time possible in the hopes that projects at this stage of development will address the country's deficiencies in infrastructure. Moving forward, the efforts of the cluster in improving the implementation of infrastructure will be reflected in the IC-PPR, the IC head added.
At the same time, Villar noted that the portfolio will record the improvements in the sector and seeks to address development gaps.
It can be said that the IC-PPR is a living document that will be updated in the coming months and years to reflect the developments in the infrastructure sector and to better address development gaps, he said.
It represents the collective expertise and dedication of the cluster and marks the cluster's commitment to giving our kababayan better infrastructure that support our various economic activities, the DPWH added.
Villar also urged the people to keep an eye out on the IC-PPR because it tells the story of our country's journey towards a responsive and efficient infrastructure system.
No more ghost projects
Villar, meanwhile, reported that the present administration was able to get rid of ghost projects by implementing a new monitoring system, the Infra-track Application.
Following President Rodrigo Duterte's mandate of increasing transparency and accountability in government, the DPWH has put an end to ghost projects via a new monitoring system � the Infra-track Application, which would have a built-in geotagging feature � compatible to both drone and satellite technology. The Infra-Track App would also enable geographic identification of photos, videos, and other posts and provide a more accurate measurement of project accomplishments, he said.
Corruption is a function of discretion and monopoly. The use of technology increases accountability and serves as a strong deterrent against any existing and future anomaly � including delays, Villar added.
The DPWH chief said that they also required contractors to present geo-tagged photos as well as a geographic-based status reports of the projects.
Now, before Contractor claims could be processed, before payments can be made �- they would now need to submit geo-tagged photos as well as a geographic-based status reports, he said.
The system also employs drones in monitoring the project accomplishment of regional and district projects, Villar furthered.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Launched in June, the Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Portal is an online job site aimed at consolidating all employment opportunities from all concessionaires and construction companies involved in the government's flagship infrastructure program.
It is set to provide at least 14,000 jobs, and is accessible to the public via www.build.gov.ph
It will serve as a job matching platform between potential employers and employees as the government moves to complement its Build, Build, Build infrastructure initiatives with more job opportunities for Filipinos, he said.
IC's future plans
Looking forward, among the infrastructure cluster's future plans is to help alleviate traffic congestion's by building more structures such as roads and bridges.
To help alleviate traffic congestion, efforts on improving route systems and putting up of intermodal terminals will be continued, along with the implementation in appropriate corridors of bus rapid transits, Villar added.
It includes the Luzon Spine Network, which is a network of high standard highways and expressways which will be expanded to the islands of Visayas and Mindanao.
The capacity of our rail network will also be expanded with the introduction of the first subway system in the country through the Metro Manila Subway Project; and the first rail system in Mindanao through the Mindanao Rail Project, he said.
Driven by increasing demand for air flights and travels, the capacity of our existing airports will similarly be expanded. As an island country, a stronger Roll-on Roll-off or RoRo network will also be established that shall provide for better and more efficient inter-island shipping, the DPWH chief added.
Likewise, the government aims to to attain 95 percent water supply access for households.
As for flood control projects, Villar noted that they seek to increase the safety of the public and the protection of livelihood and properties from floods and related environmental risks through the completion and updating of flood management plans across all river basins and the construction or rehabilitation of flood mitigation structures.
The government also aims to improve the quality and accessibility of the country's information and communications services, especially the broadband Internet, so more people can harness the benefits of participating in the digital economy.
We will continue to address the critical gaps in the provision of basic social infrastructure services, including in the sectors of education and health, among others, which are crucial for human capital development towards equitable access to infrastructure facilities and services, he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency