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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DPWH Says Infomercials Promote Transparency and Accountability

A top official of the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) has justified the use of infomercials saying that they have to inform the public about the newly completed roads and bridges in the spirit of service and transparency.

"Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. wants us to be fully accountable to the people with regards to infrastructure projects undertaken with the use of taxpayers' money," said Jaime A. Pacanan, the DPWH Assistant Secretary for Support Services.

Pacanan, who represented Ebdane during the recent Senate hearing on infomercials, said "people should be well-informed in terms of our department's accomplishments so that they can fully realize and actually use the roads to progress."

The DPWH was one of the departments taken to task by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago for coming up with infomercials. The DPWH infomercials show Ebdane showcasing the DPWH accomplishments and how they are improving the lives of the people all over the country.

According to Pacanan, one of the reasons why the public has not been so appreciative of the DPWH's accomplishments was that, as engineers and architects, they have somehow taken for granted the need for them to drumbeat their accomplishments.

"Although we risk lives and limbs opening up roads in rebel- and terrorist-infested areas in far corners of the country, people have largely taken for granted our role in nation-building simply because we have been too timid in announcing our projects," said Pacanan, adding that this was also the reason that the DPWH has been falling behind in popularity surveys.

"This time, we want to tell people about our quality infrastructure projects and the difference these projects have made in their individual lives, their communities and the country as a whole. And to reach the people effectively, we have to make full use of the infomercials," Pacanan said.

Through Secretary Ebdane's marching orders to speed up the completion of projects, the DPWH has recently completed 38 out of the 154 State of the Nation Projects of President Macapagal Arroyo. The DPWH is rushing to complete 37 more projects by December 2009.

Pacanan argued: "How can people from the provinces, for instance, be aware that there is a more convenient way of going to other places if we would not inform them about the new or repaired roads through infomercials?"

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