Southern Leyte lawmaker Roger Mercado named new DPWH secretary

Christian Deiparine – Philstar.com

October 13, 2021 | 5:07pm

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MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has named Rep. Roger Mercado (Southern Leyte) as the new public works secretary, replacing Mark Villar who will run for the Senate in the 2022 elections. 

Mercado, who represents the area’s lone district, was sworn in to the post on Wednesday by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. Duterte signed Mercado’s appointment paper on Tuesday.

Mercado’s son, Maasin City Mayor Nacional Mercado, also confirmed the news. His appointment to the Department of Public Works and Highways means he would have to resign as congressman to join the Cabinet.

In Congress, Mercado is a deputy majority leader, and is vice chairperson of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways. He has authored 66 measures in the lower chamber and co-authored 26 bills. 

He is seeking reelection next year.

Mercado’s appointment came a week after Villar filed his candidacy for senator in a bid to replace his mother Sen. Cynthia Villar, who is near the half of her third and final term. 

As DPWH chief, the younger Villar oversaw the implementation of the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program, a job he took after six years of serving as congressman of Las Piñas’ lone district. 

That said, Mercado will face the daunting task of ensuring that the administration’s infrastructure plans are ready for implementation by the end of Duterte’s term so the next president can continue the projects.

Since its inception, the list of Build, Build, Build projects has undergone several revisions. From the original promise of 75 big-ticket projects in 2017, the government revised the list twice in 2020 — increasing this to 104 and then to 112.

This year, the government retained only 42 of the original 75 projects and added new ones, some of which are not even considered as public works such as the national ID system.

Government data as of May 2021 showed the government completed 11 infrastructure projects while 12 are “ongoing” and scheduled to be finished this year. Meanwhile, 17 projects are for completion in 2022.



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