Officials of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) VIII met with the newly-appointed Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Acting Secretary Roger G. Mercado and other senior DPWH officials for a coordination meeting on 1 December 2021.

In his opening message, Secretary Mercado underscored that the goal of the meeting is to align DPWH’s efforts to provide funding and technical support to the region with the actual needs of Eastern Visayas. The two sides discussed the ongoing and proposed priority infrastructure projects for Eastern Visayas.

NEDA identified more than 900 priority infrastructure projects in the region that need DPWH support. These include high-impact projects that foster interconnectivity within Eastern Visayas and across nearby regions, as well as other infrastructure projects supporting the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone (LEIZ), Metro Ormoc Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Development (SUID), agriculture, trade and industry, tourism, the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) Program Pillar 3, state universities and colleges (SUCs), and resettlement areas.

NEDA noted that these projects are still subject to updating or expansion, based on local government unit (LGUs) priorities, as indicated in their respective Local Development Investment Programs (LDIPs), and possible changes brought by the continuing devolution of national government functions to LGUs.

Meanwhile, the DPWH Regional Office VIII also presented their priority infrastructure projects for the Leyte-Southern Leyte-Samar Island area during the meeting.

These included the construction of the 5.79-km Maasin City Coastal Bypass Road; completion of the Silago-Abuyog Coastal Road; widening of the 17.89 km Daang Maharlika Highway in Southern Leyte; construction of the 15-km Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project Phase 2 including construction of Laoang 2 and Calomotan Bridges; upgrading of multiple Southern Leyte ports; and drafting of a Master Drainage Plan for Maasin City.

Furthermore, the Secretary also instructed the agency to revisit the economic feasibility study of the proposed construction of the Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge which aims to link the island town of President Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol with Maasin City in Southern Leyte.

NEDA VIII, led by OIC-Assistant Regional Director Jam M. Colas, expressed its gratitude for the DPWH initiative. She conveyed the directive of the NEDA VIII Regional Director Bonifacio Uy to provide assistance to help facilitate smooth implementation of these priority programs and projects.

For their part, other officials of DPWH committed to identifying feasible projects from the presented list and finding ways to include as many as possible in the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

Article by: Knulp Aseo, DRD and Lady Jane A. Fermano, PDIPBD
Photos by: DPWH VIII