'Humanda ka,' Next DPWH chief Bonoan warns crooks 'shortchanging' gov't

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2022 07:27 PM

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MANILA — Incoming Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel Bonoan issued a stern warning to people who might "shortchange" the agency in its infrastructure projects under the Marcos administration.

In an interview with ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Monday, Bonoan said that he would look closely into possible corrupt practices within the DPWH and the projects it would implement. 

"Iyan po ang tututukan natin... I'm a civil engineer myself at alam ko kung naman kung ano iyong kalidad ng magandang imprastraktura o hindi. If you shortchange me, humanda ka," he said.

(We will look closely into that. I'm a civil engineer myself and I know the quality of good infrastructure. If you shortchange me, better prepare.)

Bonoan said that under his watch, the department would continue the projects under the "Build, Build, Build" program of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.

President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. promised during the election campaign that he would expand and improve Duterte's infrastructure drive. 

"Unang una, sabi niya [Marcos], we will have to continue with the 'Build, Build, Build' program para ma-sustain natin iyong economic growth natin kasi prime mover ang infrastructure eh," Bonoan said.

([Marcos] said that first, we will have to continue with the 'Build, Build, Build' program to sustain our economic growth, because infrastructure is its prime mover.)

The DPWH will also focus on addressing traffic congestion on national roads and expressways "connecting regions to regions," said Bonoan. 

"We have to provide efficient and unimpeded travel sa inter-regional connections. Para sa ganoon, iyong mga delivery of goods and services eh mas madali, at palagay ko, it will cost less sa ating mga consumers," Bonoan said.

(In that way, delivery of goods and services will be much faster, and it will cost less for our consumers.)

He said the DPWH would also initiate new public-private partnerships, a cornerstone of infrastructure development under Duterte's predecessor, the late Benigno Aquino III.

"I think we'll have to invite natin 'yung public-private partnerships pa rin para matulungan din tayo gumawa ng ating mga kailangan," Bonoan said.

(I think we'll have to invite public-private partnerships so that we can get help for what we need to do.) 

Bonoan is the president and chief executive offer (CEO) of SMC Tollways, but had previously served in the DPWH in different positions.