Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the 125th Anniversary of the Department of Public Works and Highways

Speeches 23 June 2023

Maraming salamat. Thank you very much to Secretary Manny Bonoan for your introduction. [Please take your seats.]

The Senior Undersecretary Emil Sadain and the other officials and staff of the Department of Public Works and Highways; my fellow workers in government; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I am of course very glad to be here with you to celebrate the 125th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

It originally started as a Department of War and [Public Works]. Kaya doon nag-umpisa dahil kakatapos lang noong giyera. But you can see that the importance that our founding fathers who founded the… In fact, the first secretary was the cousin of Emilio Aguinaldo.

Kaya’t in other words, nilagay niya sa kamay ng trusted na trusted niya dahil maliwanag naman sa kahit na sino na namumuno. Kapag pagagandahin natin ang ating bansa, kailangan talaga ‘yung imprastruktura. That is a basic element.

So, that is why you have a long and celebrated history stretching back many centuries, the Department’s accomplishments have not only changed our landscapes, but defined our society as a whole.

From the majestic government buildings, the large projects such as dams and irrigation systems, bridges, highways connecting our many islands, the Public Works has been at the front and center [in] the planning and construction of it all.

It has also been responsible for building flagship projects such as the San Juanico Bridge, Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Baka naman sabihin nila pang-kalsada lang at saka tulay ang Department of Public Works. Tingnan naman ninyo, award-winning ‘yung cultural center. Tapos, hindi lamang ‘yun. Iyong inyong ginawa na mga ospital na sinimulan ng aking inang First Lady noon, First Lady Imelda, ay sinimulan niya lahat ng mga ospital na specialty hospital, at ang DPWH din ang nagtayo lahat niyan.

Kaya’t kung minsan ay hindi na nalalaman ng taong-bayan. Akala nga nila…. Basta pag inisip public works, Public Works and Highways ‘yan, tulay ‘yan at saka highway.

Kailangan malaman ng tao na hindi lamang ‘yun, na kahit na sa mga social projects, na hindi mo sasabihin infrastructure project pero nagtatayo nga ng ospital, naglalagay nga ng mga cultural center ay nakita ninyo sa buong bahay at kasaysayan ng Pilipino nasa gitna lagi ang Department of Public Works. [applause]

Mayroon pa, ‘yun pa nga nabanggit ni Sec. Manny. ‘Yung Pan-Philippine Highway na galing Laoag sa Ilocos Norte hanggang Zamboanga, nakonekta, everything was connected and brought Filipinos even closer together.

So, these are just a few in a very long list of accomplishments that the DPWH has built over the course of one and a quarter century.

You should be proud for each of you has contributed not only to the building of these structures, but to the building of the nation as a whole.

With these achievements in mind, I express my warmest gratitude to all the officials and employees who worked in the Department and the attached agencies and bureaus for serving the Filipino people faithfully for these 125 years.

It is an example to all of us that through your dedication and industry that we now have structures that produce opportunities, facilitate commerce, increase mobility, and protect the lives of our people.

I also extend my special congratulations to the awardees we recognize today for exemplifying the core values of the Department and for leaving an indelible mark in our society and among the people whom they served.

‘Yun lamang naman, parang napupuna ko, parang kilala ko lahat ‘yung mga dumaan dito noong… [applause] Si Usec. Pipo tawa nang tawa, alam niya.

But I suppose kasi marami kami talaga binibigay na trabaho sa kanila and they have served well. So, I congratulate them for all the hard work. [applause] Now, it will not only be in specific parts at nakita naman natin doon sa video na napakarami, napakadaming malalaking proyekto na ating gagawin ngayon.

And Sec. Manny mentioned, the golden age of infrastructure. Well, huwag natin patapusin ‘yung golden age of infrastructure. Ipagpatuloy natin ang golden age of infrastructure ngayon dahil naman kailangan na kailangan ng ating mga kababayan. [applause]

So, to the awardees and to all of the members of the Department of Public Works and Highways, I hope your example will inspire your colleagues and the new generation of public workers to follow your lead, build on your legacy, and work for the benefit of the Filipino people.

So, as we celebrate this milestone, it continues to be my hope that everyone in the Department of Public Works will remain steadfast in its mandate as well as stay committed to fulfilling this administration’s 8-point Socioeconomic Agenda, by committing to construct and finish critical infrastructure projects on time, on schedule, and under budget.

In line with this, I urge you to continue streamlining your procedures, preventing delays and cost and overruns and enforcing transparency measures in all government projects and transactions.

You are not alone in this. The entire government is there working with you to bring the synergies that we can bring together to make that government more efficient, to make the bureaucracy more modern, more aware of all the new technologies and techniques that are available to us that we can use to our benefit.

So, let us work on that together because what we have initiated is something that I am sure you have heard before and it is not solely… We talk to the Department of Public Works, we talk to the Department of Tourism, we talk to the Department of Education, na ‘yan lang…
We are trying to put together a system that will work and will help each other and so always remember this. Despite the fact that I will probably say that any joint project, the Department of Public Works will be the lead department for the simple reason that you are the largest group. [applause]

But there are many agencies and of course all the other departments, and for that matter my own office are there behind you to support you, to make all that we undertake a success. [applause]

At this point, it is probably a good moment to shift the focus now, beyond just physical infrastructure, and embrace the concept of inclusive and accessible design. Acknowledge the needs of all individuals, including people with disabilities, pregnant women, the elderly, the very young.

Incorporate elements of our culture and history
into our infrastructure designs to foster a sense
of pride and belonging amongst our communities.

We will harness the power of technological advancements and innovations in the development of our infrastructure systems.

And most importantly, ensure the resilience, the dependability and adaptability and sustainability of our structures so that even future generations will use and benefit from it.

It is one thing I learned that we have to always also remember. Kung minsan pagka nag-iisip tayo at pinag-uusapan natin ang isang proyekto. Sinasabi, maganda ito. We will build a building o we will build a bridge and we will do it this way, itong design, ganyan, ganyan. What people sometimes forget is that the decision that we make today, we will have to live with for the next 80 to 100 years.

So, huwag natin lang iisipin kung ano ‘yung maganda ngayon. Kailangan tumagal ito. After 10 years, gigibain niyo, ang laki-laki ng binayad natin para diyan. So, it has to stay…

Well, first of all, it has to physically survive that kind of time period. But more than that, that it is built and designed in such a way that which we build its purpose for the next 80 to 100 years and that has always been part of the planning that we have been doing now. Napakaganda, napakalaki. Wala pang 10 years nasira na or na wala pang 10 years hindi na kailangan sayang lang ‘yung ginamit na pondo para doon. At hindi na nakatulong sa taong-bayan.

So, ‘yun ang dapat lagi nating alalahanin. Kung minsan nakakalimutan natin because we only think of the project that we want to do now, especially every large-scale project, what we now call flagship projects, those will have to last for what? Three generations after us.

Kaya’t gandahan natin at gawin nating tama at pag-isipan mabuti para hanggang sa katagalan ay nakakatulong pa sa taong-bayan.

So, as we look forward to the future, it is my hope that Department of Public Works and Highways will remain true and responsive to the needs of the Filipino people, as you have done for the last 125 years.

Let us listen to our people’s voices, work with them so we can harness their strengths and synergize our efforts for the good.

With all of us working together, I am sure we can form a united front and build infrastructure that will not only improve the landscape, but enrich and empower the entire citizenry.

Mabuhay ang lahat ng kawani ng Kagawaran ng [mga] Pagawain at Lansangang Bayan!

Mabuhay kayong lahat and Happy 125th Anniversary! Maraming salamat sa inyo. [applause]

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