P300M for projects in northern Benguet still unreleased

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BUGUIAS, Benguet – Some P300 million earlier allotted for various infrastructure projects within the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works and Highways–Second Benguet Engineering District (DPWH-SBED) remain unreleased to date which has greatly affected the implementation of projects by the said office.

DPWH-SBED District Engineer Alexander Castañeda stated most of the projects whose funds had been classified by the agency for latter release (FLR) are flood control works in various parts of northern Benguet purposely to address the perennial flooding in low-lying communities during the rainy season.

He disclosed that during their latest staff conference, the funds for the aforesaid projects remain in status quo that is why the projects have not yet been awarded to the contractors who were successful bidders of said projects.

However, the district engineer said that all district offices have similar projects whose funds had been classified under the category of FLR that is why DPWH officials are keeping their fingers crossed that the funded projects will be implemented even by the latter part of the year to boost the infrastructure development in the areas where the government’s big-ticket projects are located.

According to him, there had been assurances from concerned public works officials that the projects that had been classified under FLR will be given the required funding since such projects had already been included as part of the agency’s list of projects under the government’s national expenditure program (NEP) for this year.

Under existing guidelines, the public works department is authorized to bid out numerous infrastructure projects short of award until such time that the funds for the same had been made available by the budget department.

DPWH-SBED has jurisdiction over the towns of Tublay, Kapangan, Kibungan, Atok, Bakun, Buguias and Mankayan.

Castañeda served as the district engineer of the DPWH-SBED when the same was established and he will be retiring in the same office after reaching the mandatory age of retirement for government officials and employees by the later part of the year.

He was able to serve various offices of the agency such as assistant regional director of the DPWH-CAR and district engineer of the Baguio City District Engineering Office, Kalinga District Engineering Office, First Benguet Engineering District and the First Mountain Province District Engineering Office.

He expressed his gratitude to all concerned stakeholders and local officials in the different places where he was able to render his services, saying that whatever accomplishments that were realized was achieved through the cooperation of the concerned sectors who placed premium on the importance of growth and development.

Castañeda is a native of Bontoc, Mountain Province and is married to a native of Buguias, Benguet he has yet to announce his plans once he will be retiring from his long years in the government. By HENT

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