Saturday, March 21, 2015

DPWH’s Sorsogon district office now housed in new flashy building
By Danny O. Calleja

SORSOGON CITY, March 20 (PNA) -- An ostentatious building built for nearly Php30 million is now the new home here of the District Engineering Office (DEO) I of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which covers the first congressional district of the province of Sorsogon.

Inaugurated on “Friday the 13th” last week with Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero and his mother, Rep. Evelina Escudero as guests of honor, the building that sits on the sprawling DPWH compound along the national highway in Barangay Guinlajon here was opened to the public doing transactions with the office on Friday.

It is a two-storey of entirely new structure constructed by a private contractor for an amount of Php28.972 million on the same site where the old and dilapidated half-wooden and half-concrete building it replaced stood and occupied by the DEO for about 55 years.

DEO chief Ignacio Odiaman said the fund for its construction, which was completed last December, was provided by the national government to the DPWH under the General Appropriation Act of 2014.

It elegantly stands as a well-appointed building-- which Odiaman said was constructed based on the standard plan as per Department Order (DO) No. 81, series of 2001--with a spacious parking area surrounded by an intricately landscaped ground not seen in any of the 15 other DEOs in Bicol.

He describes the building as the first of its kind among DEOs nationwide in terms of convenience as a place of work, as a calamity-free structure, as a highly presentable government office, a distinct product of cost-effective engineering and architectural works and as a symbol of government’s commitment to offer the public a conducive place in transacting official businesses.

Its construction was also in line with the department’s policy to continuously improve the delivery of its services, per DO No. 91-- Implementation of Quality Workplace Standards, the DEO chief said.

“This is to provide a better, quality and secured workplace that can withstand calamities to avoid loss of life, government resources and properties of the DEO and with this new office building, our apprehension is eased over our old office which may be totally destroyed once a major typhoon, a fire or an earthquake hit our place," Odiaman said.

“Maginhawa ang aking pakiramdam sa loob. Walang siksikan, maayos at malinis ang bawat sulok ng mga opisina at ng buong gusali (My feeling is pleasant inside. It is not cramped and all corners of the offices and the entire building are orderly and clean),” Ferdinand Ballatan, a barangay chair in Castilla town following up a project, said as he emerged from inside the said builing.

While working in this new office building, Odiaman stressed that the entire DEO organization will be continuously guided by the overall policy directive of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s “Tuwid Na Landas,” and the DPWH Reforms initiated by Secretary Rogelio Singson under the “DPWH Transformation Framework.”

We have committed ourselves to continuously transform the agency and its officials and employees into a simplified and innovative organization and public servants to reduce corruption, improve efficiency and optimize available resources,” he stressed.

At present, DEO’s workforce has close to a hundred personnel composed of rank- and-file employees with permanent itemized positions, workers on co-terminus status, job order and casual employees, detailed staff from the Area Equipment Services and employees on floating status whose salaries are charged to maintenance fund, he added.

The Sorsogon DEO I covers this city and the five municipalities—Casiguran, Castilla, Pilar, Donsol and Magallanes—within the first congressional district of the province that the Escuderos have been ruling politically for more than three decades.

The late Salvador Escudero III, the senator’s father and husband of the district’s reigning representative to the Lower House, served as its representative to the Batasang Pambansa from 1984 to 1986.

In 1987, he was elected as congressman for an 11-year term until 1998 and in 2007 until his death at the age of 70 from a lingering illness on August 13, 2012.

His son, Francis, was congressman of the same district from 1999 to 2006 before becoming a senator and his widow replaced him following his death by winning in the 2013 mid-term elections.

Odiaman has acknowledged that the mother-and-son team in the Lower House and Senate, respectively, helped in facilitating the allocation of the fund for the construction of the new building, the way that the late congressman Escudero during his time did in helping the DEO secure funds from national appropriations for its projects in the district. (PNA) RMA/FGS/DOC/CBD/RSM