By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has enhanced support to the operations of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) after signing of two vital agreements with the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) that will address vacuums in handling national roads and bridges in the region.
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and MPW Minister Eduard Guerra signed on Sept. 20 the memorandums of agreement (MOAs) turning over the DPWH district engineering office here to MPW’s auspices and creating interim protocols on implementing various national infrastructure projects and concerns in the autonomous region, officials said.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim and Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua graced the event at the DPWH central office in Manila, conveying via zoom their appreciation and views on the vitality of synergy in helping the infant region catch up with infrastructural development paces in the country’s developed zones, it was learned.
DPWH Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations Emil Sadain and MPW Director General Danilo Ong also signed the MOAs as witnesses.
Usec. Sadain, who is also the focal person for BARMM Infra Projects and alternate representative to the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), was initially contacted by the Philippine Muslim Today news to provide later details about the signed agreements.
Under one of the MOAs, the DPWH formally turned over to MPW jurisdiction its Cotabato City District Engineering Office land, building, equipment, and assets located in Barrio Kakar here pursuant to R.A 11054, which created the BARMM now covering this city.
But the MOA prescribes for the creation of a Project Management Office (PMO) for Maguindanao to handle various DPWH national projects within the province inclusive of this city, and official statement said.
The other agreement stipulated the two-year arrangements/protocols on the implementation f infrastructure projects of the national government in the BARMM, the DPWH statement said.
The interim arrangement tasked the DPWH to lead in the identification of various national infrastructure projects in BARMM, in coordination with MPW. The MPW may recommend and initiate request of proposed flagship projects directly to the BARMM government parliament for funding and consideration, the statement said.
It added, however, that the DPWH shall furnish MPW copies of approved report/studies, plans, annual procurement plan, procurement monitoring report, and list of contracts awarded with name of contractor of all DPWH projects in BARMM.
The MPW shall also be notified and invited as observers in pre-bid conferences, pre-construction conference of DPWH projects in BARMM and be assisted in capability development in matters related to procurement, it said.
The same MOA mandated a quarterly coordination meeting between DPWH and MPH officials for the evaluation of the projects under the national government.
During construction, the DPWH Regional Office or PMO that will handle direct implementation of all national infra for BARMM funded by the general appropriations act (GAA) shall furnish project progress to MPW, and invite the latter on final inspection of projects. The MPW may conduct an independent monitoring of completed projects, it stated.
“The maintenance of national roads and bridges shall also be under the national government in close coordination with the BARMM. Minor maintenance works and emergency/disaster response in BARMM can be delegated by the DPWH to the MPW through a separate MOA,” the DPWH website statement said.
The statement added that “foreign-assisted projects” in BARMM will remain to be managed by DPWH-UPMO led by Undersecretary Sadain “in coordination with MPW.”
It said the second MOA will remain in force for a period of two (2) years upon approval or until such time that the Regional Project Management Office and PMOs for Bangsamoro are created and in full operation.
The signing ceremony also drew the attendance of MPW Deputy Minister Abdul Maomit Tomawis and DPWH Region 12 Legal Division Chief Atty. Jahara Ali-Macadato, DPWH Undersecretaries Ardeliza Medenilla and Eugenio Pipo Jr.; Assistant Sec. Ador Canlas; OPAPP Assistant Sec. Wilben Mayor, and DPWH UPMO Project Directors; DPWH directors in Regions 9, 10 and 12; MPW District Engineers; and some Bangsamoro parliament members. (AGM)