ILOCOS SUR — Now that the province is under general community quarantine (GCQ), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – Second District Engineering Office has started to continue the completion of “Build, Build, Build” projects.
This was stated by District Engineer Jose Ginete, Jr. following the announcement of DPWH Secretary Mark Villar that public and private construction projects are allowed to resume following compliance to the construction safety guidelines prescribed for the implementation of infrastructure projects during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis for areas under GCQ.
“Lahat ng road widening, bridge construction at drainage projects na natigil pansamantala dahil sa enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) ay nagpapatuloy na ngayong ang ating distrito ay under GCQ,” Engr. Ginete said.
One of the projects that has affected most of the residents and road users in Candon City is the construction of a box culvert in two sections (barangay San Isidro to San Jose and barangay San Antonio to San Juan) along Manila North Road.
A Box Culvert is a П-shaped reinforced concrete structure used in drainage and road works, which is one of the most effective drainage systems to mitigate flooding.
Because of this, heavy vehicles such as buses and trucks were advised to use the Candon City bypass road from the beginning of the quarantine period until this date.
Light vehicles were also advised to use barangay roads which has caused some delay of travel to many residents going to the city proper.
However, Engr. Ginete assured that as soon as the projects are finished, vehicles can enter the city proper without using alternative routes.
“Kung hind lang dahil sa quarantine period, sana tapos na ito pero hindi na dapat mangamba ang ating mga residents kasi ongoing na ito,” he said.
Other than this, a total of 41 projects composed of flood control projects, construction of multi purpose buildings, schools buildings, farm-to-market roads and access roads leading to tourist spots in Candon City and numerous municipalities within the second district of Ilocos Sur have resumed.
Engr. Ginete assured that all their employees who were allowed to report last Monday, May 4, 2020 are all strictly following sanitation practices in line with the commitment of DPWH to protect its employees.
“To prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace, all officials and employees observe basic personal hygiene, workplace sanitation and social distancing measures,” he said.
Only 21 to 59 years of age, without pre-existing health conditions and who did not come into contact with someone with COVID-19 are allowed to be included in the workforce.
“Construction personnel are also required to undergo any available COVID-19 test, as may be prescribed by the Department of Health, and retested as the need arises,” he added.
Engr. Ginete added that they issue Construction Work Pass to individual qualified personnel of the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, stating the identification, designation, nature of work, validity, and destination.
This will cover transit of personnel from GCQ area to ECQ area, and vice versa, and an area not under community quarantine to a GCQ or ECQ area, and vice versa.
Meanwhile, during the Laging Handa Network Briefing anchored by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar aired on May 8, Governor Ryan Luis Singson pointed out that the continuation of government projects is helping most workers and residents in the province.
“Meron namang guidelines sa mga establishments na pwedeng magbukas at kami ay nagpapasalamat din sa national government lalo na sa DPWH dahil napayagan na rin po na magsimula ‘yong ibang mga proyekto. Karamihan din naman po ng ating mga kababayan dito sa Ilocos Sur ay construction workers, farmers. So ‘yong construction sa government projects ay pwede nang simulan. So nabibigyan na sila ng daily income,” he said.