The partnership between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and World Bank (WB) continues to grow strength as top leaders of the two (2) organization talks anew on several proposed infrastructure projects.
DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan said that the World Bank Group has expressed their openness to offer financial assistance to support new initiatives of the Department geared towards the upgrading of roads, improvement of school facilities and water resources, and strengthening of resilience against climate change and natural disasters.
Dr. Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand (BMPT), made a recent courtesy visit to Secretary Bonoan at the DPWH Central Office.
During the meeting, Secretary Bonoan acknowledged and extended deep appreciation for the longstanding support and assistance provided over the years by World Bank to the country’s infrastructure development.
The DPWH Secretary was joined in the meeting by DPWH Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil K. Sadain and UPMO Project Directors Ramon A. Arriola III and Soledad R. Florencio.
Headed by Dr. Diop, he was joined by World Bank officials including Madhu Raghunath, Sector Leader for Sustainable Development for the BMPT; Rong Qian; Lesley Cordero; Fiorella Fabella; Mavi Ladia; Hope Gerochi; and Rommel Herrera.
Undersecretary Sadain discussed new potential areas of collaboration between DPWH and World Bank particularly the proposed “Infrastructure Development Plan for the Greater Metropolitan Sulu” aimed at reviving the standing of Sulu as a main economic and trade hub not only for Mindanao but for the entire Philippines.
The proposed development plan will improve transportation facilities and address the need for clean water and proper sanitation facilities, create opportunity for the development and promotion of various heritage and tourism potentials, build sustainable communities, and pave the way for eventual decline of armed conflict due to available and improved economic opportunities.
To be able to attain the objectives of the development plan, DPWH thru the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will be requesting assistance from the World Bank to finance the conduct of master plan, feasibility studies and detailed engineering for Sulu Mainland Water Supply Project, Jolo Sanitation Development Program, Development of Sulu Circumferential and Transcentral Roads, Urban Renewal Program at Coastal Communities, and Improvement of Transportation Facilities.
Undersecretary Sadain also tackled the Earthquake Resiliency Program for the Greater Metro Manila under the World Bank-assisted Philippine Seismic Risk Reduction and Resilience Project intended to enhance the safety and seismic resilience of selected public buildings in Metro Manila, and the capacity of the DPWH to prepare for and respond to emergencies.
This project will involve the conduct of vulnerability and risk assessments on public buildings and subsequent structural improvement if needed.
The courtesy call ended in high hopes for the renewed partnership between the Philippine government and the World Bank Group.