DPWH chief names new ARD for Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY --- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Sec. Mark Villar has designated a new assistant regional director of the department’s Bicol regional office here.

Under Villar’s Special Order No. 55, Gerald A. Pacanan, district engineer of the DPWH Leyte 2nd District Engineering Office based in Tacloban City, has been designated as the new assistant regional director in an officer-in-charge (OIC) capacity, vice assistant regional director Esmeraldo Sarmiento, 59, who retired from the service recently.

The designation of a non-Bicolano official to handle the region’s second top post came on the heels of the controversy that accused the DPWH Bicol regional office of allegedly paying multimillion pesos claim for selected contracts during the months of March, April and May, while the region was on lockdown because of the imposition of the enhance community quarantine (ECQ).

At least three Bicolano district engineers have applied for the vacant position of DPWH assistant regional director. The three are Edilberto Ativo, a district engineer (DE) in Sorsogon; Ricardo Gutierrez, former DE of Camarines Norte; and Simon Arias, the incumbent DE of the Albay 1st District Engineering Office. Ativo and Gutierrez are on floating status at the regional office at present.

In February this year, Villar appointed Masbate-based district engineer Walter Lubiano, as assistant regional director, who was assigned in Eastern Visaya instead of Bicol region. His appointment lasted only for three months following his mandatory retirement in April 2020.