Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. expressed hope that the country’s Department of Public Works and Highways can replicate Japan which is known for its speedy “rebuild and repair” of calamity-damaged infrastructures.
Revilla, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Public Works, urged the DPWH to expedite the repair and reconstruction of bridges and other public infrastructure damaged by severe tropical storm “Paeng.”
In a letter to DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan dated 2 November, Revilla stressed the need for immediate repairs of typhoon-hit roads and bridges as it is vital to the passage of people and the provision of relief assistance to-and-from the affected communities.
“No time should be wasted in rebuilding. Bawat araw na lumilipas na hindi ayos ang mga tulay na ito ay napeperwisyo ang buhay at kabuhayan ng napakarami nating mga kababayan,” Revilla said, citing the Bantilan Bridge linking Sariaya, Quezon and San Juan, Batangas; Romulo Bridge in Bayambang, Pangasinan; the Paliwan Bridge connecting the Antique towns of Laua-an and Bugasong; and the Nituan Bridge in Parang, Maguindanao — that remained impassable as of presstime.
Revilla also urged Bonoan to “immediately submit” to the Committee a report on the total damage sustained by public infrastructures, including dikes, revetments, and other flood control structures, detailing the required funds for their immediate reconstruction.
The report must include a timetable as “to when the repairs” are expected to be completed, he added.
Revilla said he will personally seek the approval of the Senate Committee on Finance to assure that DPWH will get the necessary funds allocated for repairs and reconstructions of public infrastructures for the year 2023.
“While the DPWH has Quick Response Funds for times of calamities, these funds are not intended for reconstruction which is what is needed in this instance. Kaya kailangan malagyan ng pondo ang DPWH specifically for this purpose,” he added.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s latest report showed that “Paeng” left with about P896,857,401.73 estimated cost of damage to infrastructures.