DPWH gets Senate backing for P822-B budget 


The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) got full support for its 2024 budget proposal on Tuesday from its former secretary, but senators also raised the concern about “overloading” the country’s roads and bridges, which substantially reduces their life span.

Senator Mark Villar, former DPWH chief in the Duterte era, praised the agency’s performance, particularly in improving its disbursement rate and continuation of big-ticket infrastructure projects. During the Finance Subcommittee A’s hearing, Villar said, “I’d like to commend the DPWH for their efforts. [It’s] not always recognized, but it’s amazing…the accomplishments of this department.” he said.

DPWH Sec. Manuel Bonoan presented the proposed P822.2 billion budget of the agency for next year and pointed out that the proposed budget of the DPWH is in line with the Marcos administration’s 8-point socioeconomic agenda in the near and medium term. 

During the hearing, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III stressed the need to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 8794, specifically the provision concerning overloading. 

Extending the economic life of roads and highways would not only save the government significant funds but also enhance road safety, according to Pimentel.

During the hearing, DPWH Secretary Bonoan noted that the Philippines has the world’s highest axle load limit at 13.5 tons, based on section 6 of RA 8794. This figure is higher compared to the 9.5 to 11-ton limits of other countries. Such high axle load limit subjects most of the country’s roads and highways to undue stress that shortens their economic life.

Also at the hearing, Sen. Francis ”Tol” Tolentino expressed interest in the fund allocation of the DPWH for the Tatag ng Imprastraktura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad (TIKAS) Convergence Program.

Tolentino said TIKAS Program should be given priority, particularly in the region that has jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea (WPS), noting the budget declined for the program, from P6 billion in 2023 to P3.8 billion for next year. 

“May I ask from the good secretary the individual allocation given to the Philippine Army, the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Air Force, as well as the Philippine National Police for the TIKAS Program,” Tolentino asked. 

“I think they deserve to have a bigger chunk of a pie, especially that area (Palawan)…This representation would be very interested in knowing the budget given to the province of Palawan (for the TIKAS Program),” he added. 

The DPWH TIKAS Program aims to develop infrastructure projects for the benefit of the armed forces in partnership with the Department of National Defense (DND).

Image credits: Voltaire F. Domingo/Public Relations and Information