Press Release
July 12, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said he is proposing the devolution of public works to local government units (LGUs) as part of the next wave of local government reforms.

Pimentel said this means that funds for public works and actual construction of infrastructure projects will be handled directly by the LGUs, and not anymore by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

One of the major amendments to the Local Government Code I am proposing is that all public works projects intended for provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays should already be handled by local government officials, he said.

As proposed by Pimentel in Senate Bill No. 1121 which will amend the Code (Republic Act 7160), barangays will take over the construction, repair and rehabilitation of barangay roads, bridges and water supply. At present, only the maintenance of these infrastructure facilities is being done by the barangays.

Municipalities will take over infrastructure facilities that include not only those funded out of municipal funds as presently done but also those funded by central and provincial budgets. They will also undertake the construction of wharves, reclamation projects and acquisition of lands for tourism purposes.

To be devolved to the provinces under the Pimentel proposal are public works projects including those that are funded by central government budget, national road, bridges and ports.

He also observed that the pool of construction equipment of many LGUs is more impressive than its counterpart in DPWH field offices.

Pimentel observed the common practice of the DPWH to subcontract infrastructure projects to private engineering firms despite its huge pool of manpower and equipment.

If that is the way the DPWH discharges its functions, it may be better to abolish the DPWH and let its functions be transferred to the local government units, he said.

He also said that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) can already be phased out with the devolution of agriculture, health and social welfare services to the LGUs.

Pimentel said the functions of the Bureau of Fire Services (BFP), which is now supervised by the DILG, can be transferred to the LGUs.

He stressed that there is no need for the Department of Health and Department of Social Welfare and Development to maintain a large bureaucracy and budget since much of their personnel and functions have already been devolved to the LGUs.

Pimentel also believes that the LGUs should take charge of the purchase of drugs and medicines currently being undertaken by the central government.

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