Department of Public Works and Highways
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH; Filipino: Kagawaran ng mga Pagawain at Lansangang Bayan) is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for undertaking major infrastructure projects. The department is constituted to plan infrastructure and design, as well as to construct and maintain national roads, bridges, and major flood control systems. Mark Villar, son of real-estate tycoon and former senator Manuel "Manny" Villar and incumbent senator Cynthia Villar, is the current secretary of the department.
DPWH is one of the oldest departments in the Philippine government. In 1868, the Bureau of Public Works and Highways (Obras Publicas) and Bureau of Communications and Transportation (Communicationes y Meteorologia) were established and managed by a civil engineer with the role of “director general.
After the war for Philippine independence, General Emilio Aguinaldo issued the Organic Decree of the Philippine Revolutionary Government on June 23, 1898, creating four executive departments, one of which was the Department of War and Public Works. At the same time, the United States took control of the country and placed the public works and activities under the U.S. Army of engineers.
Bureau of Public Works
On 6 February 1901, public works and projects were placed under the “Provincial Supervisions” by virtue of Act No. 83 passed by the Philippine Commission. The following year, the Department of Commerce and Police was created, which gave birth to the Bureau of Engineering and Construction of public works and the Bureau of Architecture and Construction of public buildings. On 26 October 1905, the two bureaus became the Bureau of Public Works that aimed to provide the need for a more extensive road network that would penetrate the rural areas. Thus, provincial boards were created in 1907, and they were authorized to collect double cedula taxes to finance the construction of provincial roads and bridges.
The year 1910 became witness to the first appearance of motor vehicles on Philippine highways. To be able to raise funds to keep roads and bridges in good condition, motor vehicle owners and drivers were required to register with a corresponding fee in 1921. With all these developments, the Department of Commerce and Police evolved into the Department of Commerce and Communications under Reorganization Act No. 2666 of 1916.
The Department of Commerce and Communications became the Department of Public Works and Communications (DPWC) in 1931, when the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 4007, which lacked the proper composition and functions of the said department until its reorganization on 15 November 1935, during the inauguration of the Commonwealth Government. The DPWC was composed of the Bureau of Public Works, Ports, Aeronautics, Coast and Geodetic Survey; Metropolitan Water District Division of Marine, Railway and Repair Shop; National Radio Broadcasting; Irrigation Council; and Board of Examiners for Civil, Mechanical, Chemical and Mining Engineers.
During World War II, government offices, including the DPWC, were shut down due to a lack of funds, materials and equipment, and manpower. The installation of enemy administration and the formation of the resistance movement were also factors. It resumed its operation in 1946, with limited human resources, funds, materials and equipment.
Post World War 2
In 1947, the Motor Vehicles Office was placed under the department's supervision, and in 1954, as promulgated by Executive Order No. 392, the DPWC was transformed into the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (DPWTC). It included the Bureaus of Public Works, Posts, Telecommunications, Motor Vehicles Office, Irrigation Council, Flood Control Commission, Radio Control Board, National Transportation Board and Government Quarters Committee.
Republic Act No. 917, or the Philippine Highway Act of 1953, provided for an efficient highway administration and modified apportionment of highway funds. It also gave aid to provinces and cities for the improvement and maintenance of roads and bridges.
By virtue of Republic Act No. 1192, the Bureau of Public Highways was created in 1954 and was placed under the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications to manage the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges.
When President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972, the government implemented the Integrated Reorganization Plan No.1, which placed all the infrastructure functions of bureaus and offices under the DPWTC.
Through Administrative Order No. 2, the Bureau of Public Highways was expanded and it became the Department of Public Highways on 1 July 1974. Five years later, MPWTC was divided into two ministries: the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC). All bureaus and offices concerned with public works functions and activities were placed under the management of MPW. Likewise, all offices involved in transportation and communications were placed under the supervision of MOTC. Then, the Ministries of Public Works and Public Highways were merged by virtue of Executive Order No. 710 on 27 July 1981. It became the Ministry of Public Works and Highways (MPWH), with 14 regional offices, 94 districts and 60 city engineering offices, five bureaus and six service offices, in addition to corporations and councils attached to the Ministry for administrative supervision.
The current Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was promulgated by virtue of Executive Order No. 124 on 30 January 1987, having five bureaus, six services, 16 regional offices, 24 project management offices, 16 regional equipment services and 118 district engineering offices.
Functions and Responsibilities
DPWH's main function is to continuously develop its technology for the purpose of ensuring the safety of all infrastructure facilities and securing for all public works and highways the highest efficiency and quality in construction.
It is responsible for the planning, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure, especially the national highways, flood control and water resources development system, and other public works in accordance with national development objectives.
In line with the overall policy directive of President Benigno Aquino III's Tuwid na Daan in eradicating graft and corruption in government offices, current DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson addressed the organizational problems within the department and identified areas which were perceived to be prone to such unscrupulous activities.
For the eligibility screening of contractors, the department created a computer-based registry of civil works contractors developed under the Road Information Support System (RIMSS) . This sought to help minimize, if not totally eradicate, collusion among contractors.
List of secretaries of public works and highways
|No.||Name||Term Began||Term Ended||President|
|Minister of Public Works and Communications|
|1||Baldomero Aguinaldo||1898||1899||Emilio Aguinaldo|
|Secretary of War and Public Works|
|2||Mariano Trias||1899||1901||Emilio Aguinaldo|
|Secretary of Public Works and Communications|
|3||Antonio de las Alas||November 15, 1935||1936||Manuel L. Quezon|
|4||Mariano Jesús Cuenco||1936||1939|
|Secretary of National Defense, Public Works, Communications and Labor|
|6||Basilio J. Valdes||December 24, 1941||August 1, 1944||Manuel L. Quezon|
|Secretary of Public Works and Communications|
|7||Jose Paez||August 8, 1944||1945||Sergio Osmeña Sr.|
|8||Sotero Cabahug||February 27, 1945||May 28, 1946|
|9||Ricardo Nepumoceno||May 28, 1946||July 1, 1949||Manuel Roxas|
|10||Prospero Sanidad||February 21, 1950||1951|
|11||Sotero Baluyut||January 6, 1951||1952|
|12||Pablo Lorenzo||May 6, 1952||1953|
|Secretary of Public Works, Transportation and Communications|
|13||Vicente Ylagan Orosa Sr.||March 10, 1954||1955||Ramon Magsaysay|
|14||Florencio Moreno||April 30, 1957||December 30, 1961|
|Carlos P. Garcia|
|15||Marciano Bautista||1961||1962||Diosdado Macapagal|
|19||Antonio V. Raquiza||August 24, 1966||1968||Ferdinand Marcos|
|20||Rene Espina||November 1968||September 1969|
|21||Manuel Syquio||September 1969||1970|
|Secretary of Public Highways|
|24||Baltazar Aquino||1974||1978||Ferdinand Marcos|
|Minister of Public Works, Transportation and Communications|
|25||Alfredo Juinio||1978||1981||Ferdinand Marcos|
|Minister of Public Highways|
|Baltazar Aquino||1978||1979||Ferdinand Marcos|
|Minister of Public Works and Highways|
|Jesus Hipolito||1981||1986||Ferdinand Marcos|
|Secretary of Public Works and Highways|
|28||Rogaciano Mercado||February 25, 1986||November 1986||Corazon C. Aquino|
|29||Vicente Jayme||November 1986||1987|
|32||Jose de Jesus||1990||March 1, 1993|
|Fidel V. Ramos|
|33||Edmundo Mir||March 1, 1993||June 1, 1993|
|34||Gregorio Vigilar||June 1, 1993||January 20, 2001|
|35||Simeon Datumanong||January 20, 2001||January 15, 2003||Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo|
|36||Bayani Fernando||January 15, 2003||April 15, 2003|
|37||Florante Soriquez||April 15, 2003||February 15, 2005|
|38||Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr.||February 15, 2005||February 1, 2007|
|39||Manuel Bonoan||February 1, 2007||July 4, 2007|
|(38)||Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr.||July 4, 2007||October 22, 2009|
|40||Victor Domingo||October 22, 2009||June 30, 2010|
|41||Rogelio Singson||June 30, 2010||June 30, 2016||Benigno Simeon Aquino III|
|*||Rafael Yabut||June 30, 2016||July 31, 2016||Rodrigo Duterte|
|42||Mark Villar||August 1, 2016||Incumbent|
- https://www.dpwh.gov.ph/dpwh/content/about-dpwh About DPWH. Retrieved July 16, 2021