Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. yesterday led the opening of major roads and highways leading to Pangasinan and Baguio to avert a crisis where scarcity of vegetables has led to their price increase by 300 percent in Metro Manila and to supply residents in affected areas with basic goods.
This developed as a report from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bureau of Maintenance said that damages to roads and bridges brought about by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng have reached P 1.5 billion as of yesterday morning.
Public Works Undersecretary Romeo Momo, who accompanied Ebdane, said they have opened up Marcos Highway and Naguilan Road as of 6 am and 2 am yesterday, respectively, and declared the two vital roads passable to light and heavy vehicles afterwards.
"The two main roads to Baguio and Pangasinan are now open to all kinds of vehicles and we will no longer have crisis in vegetable supply in Metro Manila and as well as shortage of basic goods in Baguio," Momo said.
"We have to thank our regional directors, district engineers and our men from DPWH Regions 1, 2 and CAR for working round the clock for four days now to make all vital roads passable. It helped that Secretary Ebdane was around to see to it that they get things done fast," Momo said.
But he said that much remains to be done because they still have to work hard to open Aritao Road in Nueva Vizcaya, which also leads to Baguio, and the Baguio-Bontoc Road by yesterday afternoon.
He also said that they have to repair the road in Ambassador Hill I Baguio which collapsed by about 80 meters. He said work on this may take two or three days.
"We have already started in our road repair and rehabilitation work and there is no stopping our men because Secretary Ebdane has a standing order for them to have little sleep and rest until the job is done," Momo said.
Meanwhile, the DPWH reported that areas hardest hit by the typhoons are: Ilocos Region (Region 1) with the initial cost of P 383. 09 million; Cagayan Valley Region (Region 2), P 271.18; Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), P 207.93 million; Central Luzon (Region 3), P 382 million; National Capital Region (NCR), P 50 million; CALABARZON (Region 4-A), P 85. 90 million; MIMAROPA (Region 4-B), P 62.7 million and Bicol Region (Region 5), P 123.06 million.
Please refer to Ms. Beth Pilorin (OIC-Chief, PID)