TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, November 20, (PIA) –The government hire a total of 33 engineers now deployed in 19 towns and at the Provincial Engineers Office to help in the preparation of 1,066 project program of works for public infrastructure ruined by the earthquake.
This, as local leaders initially identified the incapacity of municipal engineers to do the program of works and estimates (POWE) of government funded rehabilitation projects.
Newspaper reports that Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas chided Bohol mayors for failing to get a hammer pounded on government infrastructure rehabilitation, when the secretary asked for updates on the Bohol rehabilitation, a year after the October 15 2013 earthquake.
Sec. Roxas, who was in the Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council meeting last October 15, 2014, told mayors they would be made accountable to “the bosses” for their failure to get the project rehabilitation going.
It may be recalled that the national government allocated P2.3 billion for the rehabilitation of public infrastructure ruined by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in October of 2013.
The government coursed the Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA) fund to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) who manages the aid, which the 19 towns of Bohol urgently need to get their governments back on track.
DILG Secretary, Mar Roxas handed the assistance to Bohol governor Edgar Chatto last June.
The funds however, can be accessed as soon as the towns comply with requirements listed in the implementing rules and regulations which the interior department issued for the BEA utilization.
The requirements however start with the town’s preparation of the Program of Works and Estimates (POWE), a task that can only be done by engineers.
Town mayors admitted to the DILG that they do not all have the expertise to work on the POWS, and this burdened local engineers especially when the rule of the game includes beating still deadlines, a Bohol mayor revealed.
Over the problem, Sec Roxas and local government leaders agreed that the DILG should help by hiring engineers with expertise on civil works.
Of the 33 engineers now working to get the over 1,000 projects POWE, 15 of them are from DILG while another 18 come from the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Beyond this, the DILG has loaned another 20 engineers from its Office of Project Development Services since October 21 to November 3.
Since the August release of the IRR on the BEA, 612 POWEs in Bohol have been submitted, and 260 POWEs are approved and given Certificates of Availability of Funds, a requirement for project bidding. (RAC/PIABohol)