Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Acting Secretary Roger Mercado has vowed to push for the realization of big-ticket projects in Eastern Visayas in the remaining months of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

During his visit here on Thursday, Mercado said they have been coordinating with officials of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to come up with long term infrastructure development plan for the region.

“We want to know status of ongoing infrastructure projects, the current state of our road and bridges, and priority roads and bridges that will be built in the future. Aside from fast tracking the Build, Build, Build projects nationwide, the President asked me to help Eastern Visayas solve poverty and insurgency through infrastructure development,” Mercado told reporters.

Among the priority projects are the second San Juanico Bridge that will connect the coastal towns of Babatngon, Leyte and Sta. Rita, Samar; new Liloan Bridge in Southern Leyte; Maasin City Coastal Bypass Road in Southern Leyte; completion of Silago-Abuyog Coastal Road in Leyte; 19-kilometer Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge; and the foreign-funded Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project in Northern Samar.

“We may not be able to start the construction or complete all ongoing projects, but we will make sure that paper works and other pre-construction activities will be completed within the term of the President. What is important is that we have already have blueprints for economic development,” Mercado added.

After a meeting with key DPWH and NEDA officials in the region, Mercado inspected the Liloan Bridge in Southern Leyte, and the coastal road that links Abuyog, Leyte and Silago, Southern Leyte.

The 40-year-old steel bridge in Liloan town forms part of the nautical highway that links the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao while the Abuyog-Silago Road is the alternative highway that connects Leyte and Southern Leyte provinces.

This is the first official visit of Mercado in the region since he assumed the top DPWH post.

He was serving as Southern Leyte representative when the President asked him to lead DPWH on October 12, replacing Mark Villar who is running for senator. (PNA)