PALO, Leyte, (PNA) -– The Japanese government has turned over on Wednesday 17 heavy equipments to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office here to boost the agency’s capability to respond to emergencies.

Donated were seven units of dump trucks, five units of wheel and crawler type hydraulic excavators, two units of payloaders, two units concrete crushers, and a motor grader. Japanese officials declined to divulge the total cost of donated equipments.

Kenichi Shirouzo of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said the donation of construction machineries is part of their second year of post-Yolanda Urgent Development Study.

Shirouzo noticed that one of challenges encountered in the aftermath of super typhoon was the transport of relief items to badly-hit areas due to debris blocking the road.

“We found that DPWH had difficulties clearing the roads due to inadequate and sometimes very old heavy equipment. This is the reason why we have included these brand new construction machineries as part of the Programme Grant Aid,” he said.

The heavy equipment is a component of Japanese government’s USD46 million grant for the rehabilitation and recovery from super typhoon Yolanda.

DPWH Regional Director Rolando M. Asis received the 17 heavy equipments, expressing appreciation to people of Japan for their contribution to post-Yolanda recovery in the region.

“On our part, I give assurance that the utilization of these equipments is in consonance with the department’s role and objectives regarding disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response,” Asis said.

In a statement, DPWH-Bureau of Equipments Director Toribio Noel Ilao, committed to maintain the new equipments to show gratitude to donors.

“We will do our mandated duty to take care of these equipments. We will closely coordinate with DPWH Region 8 to protect these equipments from early wear and tear by providing best practice in equipment preventive maintenance,” Ilao said.

Aside from donating heavy equipment, the Japanese government has tied up with DPWH on nationwide road upgrading and preservation. (PNA)