Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. yesterday said that private contractors have waived their P 8-10, 000 average daily rental fee for heavy equipment in their effort to help clear up roads and bridges damaged by the recent typhoons.
Speaking from Baguio where he led the clearing of roads, Ebdane said many of the dump trucks, loaders, graders, backhoes and other heavy equipment used to clear up Marcos Highway and Naguilan Road came from the private contractors as promised by National Constructors Association of the Philippines (NACAP) National President Willy Castor.
"I am happy that the contractors have responded to my call for help at a time that people need such kind of sacrifice. I know they are losing much in what they do because these heavy equipment really cost much when they break down. They cannot rent them out while we are using them," Ebdane said.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials say that rental fees for heavy equipment like payloaders, backhoes or bulldozers cost about P 1, 300-1,500 per hour.
"We would like to commend all the private contractors who had voluntarily deployed their heavy equipment to help in the on-going cleaning operations in landslide affected areas," Ebdane said, adding that although they are using the equipment for free, the DPWH pays for the fuel and as well as the services of the drivers.
An estimated 500 emergency crew and 40 heavy equipment are now deployed in all damaged road and bridge sections in Northern Luzon and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to conduct emergency repair works and to make all the national roads passable.
"The private contractors are already responding to the call of Secretary Ebdane for them to give back to the people by way of community service," DPWH Undersecretary Romeo Momo said during the road clearing operations.
The work undertaken by the DPWH men and private contractors include clearing operations, filling up of granular materials on roads with deep potholes, restoring cut-off roadway, installing barricades and directional signs and distributing relief goods in affected areas.
According to Momo, through the initiative and free assistance of the private contractors, they have successfully cleared the major roads leading to Baguio: Kennon Road, Marcos Highway and Naguilan Road.
All other national roads in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan are now also passable.
Momo said that the presence of Secretary Ebdane in areas that were damaged by the typhoon served to encourage private contractors to help out. "It was good that Secretary Ebdane was on top of the situation from day-one to provide leadership and guidance to both DPWH and private engineers".
Momo added that Local Government Units (LGUs) are also cooperating with them in doing repair works on secondary roads that serve as alternate routes for closed major roads.