PALO, Leyte – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Eastern Visayas has raised its absorptive capacity to 85 percent as of November, surpassing last year’s fund utilization rate.

In a report released Friday, the DPWH office here has already exceeded the 83 percent annual target for obligating P31.08 billion of the P36.54 billion allocation this year.

At least P20.48 billion has been disbursed or a rate of 56.04 percent, ahead of the 55 percent target for the period.

Of the 14 field offices in the region, eight of them met the absorptive capacity goal. The highest is Eastern Samar district engineering office with an obligation ratio of 96.18 percent.

“This is in compliance to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for full implementation and full utilization of government budget,” DPWH Regional Director Edgar Tabacon said in an interview.

In 2016, the region posted a 78 percent absorptive capacity for obligating PHP25.66 billion of the PHP33.07 allocation.

The absorptive capacity is determined by dividing the total obligation incurred by the total net allotment. It is measured by the ability to obligate the allotments received from DPWH central office and Department of Budget and Management.

Of the 834 planned projects for 2017, at least 516 have been completed, 267 are ongoing, and 51 have not yet started. The region posted 64.27 percent accomplishment as of mid-November.

This year, the DPWH shifted its focus to the widening of the country’s existing road network to address traffic congestion and for improved movement of goods and services.

Among the projects with huge funding include the construction of bypass roads and diversion roads, connecting gaps along national roads, flood control projects, and landslide prevention.

“Being aware that our agency is one of the primary driving forces in attaining economic development, we ensure that the infrastructure projects we implement are climate-change resilient and contributes to growth with the benefits reaching out even to the farthest corner of the region,” Tabacon said.

DPWH Eastern Visayas is tasked to maintain 2,535.78 kilometers of national roads with 561.93 categorized as primary, 1,325 as secondary, and 647.94 as tertiary. (PNA)