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In Eastern Visayas, the DPWH chief advocates for big-ticket projects.

Acting Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Roger Mercado has pledged to strive for the completion of major projects in Eastern Visayas during President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

Mercado said they had been cooperating with officials from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to come up with a long-term infrastructure development plan for the region during his visit here on Thursday.

“We’d like to know the status of ongoing infrastructure projects, the current state of our roads and bridges, and future priority roads and bridges.” Apart from expediting the statewide Build, Build, Build projects, the President has asked me to assist Eastern Visayas in overcoming poverty and insurgency through infrastructure development,” Mercado told reporters.

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

“We may not be able to begin building or complete all existing projects within the President’s term, but we will ensure that paperwork and other pre-construction operations are done.” What’s crucial is that we already have economic development blueprints,” Mercado remarked.

Mercado examined the Liloan Bridge in Southern Leyte and the coastal road that connects Abuyog, Leyte, and Silago, Southern Leyte after meeting with important DPWH and NEDA officials in the region.

The 40-year-old steel bridge in Liloan town connects the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao via a nautical highway, while the Abuyog-Silago Road connects Leyte and Southern Leyte provinces with an alternative route.

This is Mercado’s first official visit to the region since assuming the top DPWH position.

On October 12, he was serving as a representative for Southern Leyte when the President invited him to take over as director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), replacing Mark Villar, who is running for senator.

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