DPWH V denies allegations of planted potholes: “Throwback photos, not in Bicol”

Oas, Albay—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) of Region V denies allegations of circulating photos online of planted potholes due to poor road repair and maintenance. 

In a phone call with Bicol.PH, DPWH Regional PIO Lucy Castañeda clarifies that the circulating photos were taken years ago somewhere in Cebu and not in Bicol. 

“Throwback pictures yun and hindi po yun sa Bicol kundi sa Cebu.” Castañeda said. 

[Translation: Those were throwback photos and it’s not in Bicol but in Cebu.]

(UPDATE: The photos was then later claimed by Carol Dioquino, taken last Monday, Feb. 1 at Bagong Silang 1, Labo, Camarines Norte.)

She also said that the department is currently taking necessary measures such as asphalting activities to address issues of road damages.

“[Ngayong maganda na] ang panahon,  gumagawa na ng mga asphalting activities ang aming mga District Engineering offices dahil yun naman po talaga ang instruction sa amin ng direktor.” 

[Translation: Now that the weather condition is good, our District Engineering offices are now conducting asphalting activities like we were told by our director.]

The said photos was then later confirmed to be taken in Cebu and not in Bicol. 

“Back to 1980s period”

Despite DPWH Bicol’s efforts to complete infrastructure projects and address road problems, road damages such as collapsing shoulders and potholes are still a major concern in some areas in Albay. 

Poor road constructions are also yet to be addressed, particularly in Camarines Sur-Norte areas where most roads have potholes, cracked pavements, and faded markings. 

This causes daily problems to people travelling to and fro Bicol-Manila.

Bong Rodriguez, a CEO and resident from Naga City shared with Bicol.PH his weekly struggle from taking Maharlika Highway every time he travel to work in Manila. 

“Every week I travel to Manila and back. Every trip is excruciating both for the travelers and the vehicles. It feels like our roads are back to the 1980s period. Terrible and unsafe road conditions.” Rodriguez said. 

Aside from the difficulties, he also share that this often results to road and vehicular accidents such as colliding vehicles, bus and trucks turning upside down or falling flat sideways. 

Rodriguez hopes that DPWH Bicol could prioritize road repair of highways as it can alleviate people’s suffering from travelling poor roads. 

“I hope they can find a way to prioritize the repair of the Marhalika Highway from Quezon to Bicol. Many people are suffering too much because of these roads, which are far from at least a decent highway.”

IMG 6350
Photo by Bong Rodriguez
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Photo by Bong Rodriguez

Underutilized funds

In August 2022, the House Appropriations Committee have approved and allocated a total of Php1.196-Trillion for the government’s 2023 infrastructure programs in which DPWH received a total share of Php718.4-Billion, the exact amount of the department’s proposed budget during the 2023 budget hearing. 

Despite getting the second highest budget in the National Expenditure Program, various lawmakers slam the department over its lack of action to address delayed road reblocking operations, unfinished projects, and unreleased appropriations.

(We tried getting the statement of DPWH Bicol on the current status of the road work and repairs in the region but have not responded to our calls and messages as of this posting.) | via Ken Oliver V. Balde


Department of Budget and Management (August 2022). DBM submits 2023 Budget to Congress; Education, infrastructure, health, social protection, agriculture, top budget priorities. https://dbm.gov.ph/index.php/secretary-s-corner/press-releases/list-of-press-releases/2352-dbm-submits-2023-budget