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Top Gear Philippines

President Aquino at the DPWH's 117th anniversary celebration

Thanks to the epic incompetence of the Land Transportation Office these days, many of us have already forgotten that there was actually a time in our recent history when the most hated government agency in the land was the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Ask most Filipinos at that time and they'd tell you that DPWH stood for "Department of Plunder, Waste and Hocus-pocus." Overpriced infrastructure projects, substandard roads, inferior bridges--name it.

Apparently, that's already a thing of the past now. And if you're thinking the improvement in the DPWH's image is just a mirage brought about by the appalling ineptitude of the LTO, you're wrong. At least according to one DPWH admirer.

Yesterday, at the DPWH's 117th anniversary celebration, President Benigno Aquino III was reduced to being a fan, using his speech to shower unqualified acclaim on the agency and its boss, Secretary Rogelio Singson. We checked out the presidential speech and were particularly struck by two sound bites.

First:

Kaya, lalong lumalalim ang paghanga natin para sa DPWH kapag tinitingnan ang lawak ng transpormasyong nangyari sa inyong ahensiya sa loob ng limang taon. Ang dating poster boy ng katiwalian, ngayon ay modelo na ng episyenteng pamamalakad. At may mga nagtatanong pa: Paano nangyari ito? Paano ninyo nabaligtad? Simple lang: Hindi na po nagpatumpik-tumpik ang inyong hepe na si Secretary Babes Singson nang italaga natin siyang foreman sa pagsusulong ng reporma sa inyong ahensiya.

Second:

Ito na po ang bagong normal sa DPWH: Matipid ngunit mahusay ang gawa sa mga kalsada, tulay at iba pang imprastruktura; natatapos pa nang on-time o kaya nang mas maaga. Kung road quality naman po ang pag-uusapan, ayon po sa Global Competitiveness Report ng World Economic Forum, tuloy-tuloy po ang pag-angat natin--mula sa dating 114th noong 2010-2011, ngayon po ay 87th na tayo nitong 2014-2015. Patunay ito na habang tinataasan natin ang budget ng inyong ahensiya at lumalakas ang ating suporta ay sinusuklian ninyo ang ating bansa ng mas mataas na kalidad ng trabaho. Dahil po sa mga ambag ninyo, di ba mas madali nang maghatid ng produkto at serbisyo, at bumisita sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa?

The President's message, in a nutshell, is this: The DPWH is no longer the symbol of corruption in the country. On the contrary, it is now the model of efficient management.

If that is the case, we wonder which government agency is now the proud owner of the DPWH's unflattering effigy from the past. What do you think? Take our poll.

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If the DPWH is no longer the poster boy for corruption in the Philippines, which government agency currently is?

Bureau of Customs

Land Transportation Office

Philippine National Police

Is Congress included?

Vernon B. Sarne
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PNoy Department of Public Works and Highways DPWH infrastructure Philippine motoring Benigno Aquino III road repair
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