Department of Public Works and Highways (Philippines)

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This article is about the Philippine executive department. For the part of the government of New Brunswick, see Department of Public Works and Highways (New Brunswick).
Department of Public Works and Highways
Kagawaran ng Pagawain at Lansangang Pambayan
DPWH Philippines seal.svg
WTMP A-trio d10 3.JPG
DPWH building
Department overview
Formed January 24, 1899 (under the First Republic)
January 30, 1981 (present form)
Headquarters Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila
Annual budget ₱290.5 billion (2015)[1]
Department executive

The PhilippinesDepartment of Public Works and Highways (Filipino: Kagawaran ng Pagawaing Bayan at Lansangan), abbreviated as DPWH, is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for all safety of projects in the field of public works. It is also responsible for the maintenance of the Philippine road network and irrigation system.


History of the DPWH stretches back as far as the history of Philippine government itself. During Spanish times, the Spanish constructed the first roads in the Philippines using significant forced labor. These public works projects were not only used in the connection of towns and fortresses, but also in improving communications. As Spain expanded the scale of its public works projects, it resorted to a policy of attraction through public works projects. In 1867, in order to pursue this objective, the King of Spain by decree designated the Spanish Governor-General as the Chief of Public Works assisted by Junta Consultiva through a Royal Degree in 1867. Joan Lucero

It was in 1868 that the DPWH was born as the Bureau of Public Works and Highways, or Obras Publicas. Alongside the Bureau of Communications and Transportation (Communicaciones y Meteologia), now the Department of Transportation and Communications, the BPWH was organized under a civil engineer known as the “Director General”. It was responsible for all public works projects being done in the islands.

During the Philippine Revolution, public works duties were assumed by a new department known as the Department of War and Public Works (DWPW). Although initially included in the portfolio of the Department of War (now the Department of National Defense), public works projects were so important to the war effort that public works were also prioritized through this department.

During the American period, public works projects were initially put in the hands of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, this was transferred to a department known as the "Provincial Supervisions" on February 6, 1901. This eventually became the Department of Commerce and Police (DCP) in 1902, with two public works-related agencies, the Bureau of Engineering and Construction for public works projects and the Bureau of Architecture and Construction for the construction of public buildings. Both agencies were eventually merged into a bureau known as the Bureau of Public Works and was eventually subsumed into the DCP during reorganization in 1905. To keep pace with further developments in transportation and communications, the DCP was transformed into the Department of Commerce and Communications (DCC) in 1921.

In 1931, the DCC was renamed by the Philippine Legislature the Department of Public Works and Communication (DPWC). Upon the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935, the DPWC was reorganized to contain the following bureaus: the Bureau of Public Works, Ports, Aeronautics, Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Metropolitan Water District Division of Marine, Railway and Repair Shop, National Radio Broadcasting, the Irrigation Council and Board of Examiners for Civil, Mechanical, Chemical and Mining Engineers.

During World War II, the DPWC's offices were destroyed in the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. It resumed operations in 1946, albeit with limited funds and manpower. To assist reconstruction efforts, the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads set up an office in the Philippines to coordinate with the Philippine Bureau of Public Works in implementing the Philippine highway network, which was in ruins.

The DPWC was renamed in 1951 the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications, or DPWTC. In 1954, a body named the Bureau of Public Highways was established. This became a separate department on July 1, 1974. Two years later, with the adoption of the 1976 amendments to the 1973 Constitution, the department became the Ministries of Public Works, Transportation and Communications, and Public Highways, respectively. In 1979, the MPWTC was split into two ministries, the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), now renamed as the Department of Transportation and Communications. After two years, the public works and highways ministries were merged, becoming the Ministry of Public Works and Highways in 1981.

On January 30, 1987, with the approval of the 1987 Constitution, the Ministry was reconfigured into a Department.

Candon, Ilocos Sur

List of the Secretaries of the Department of Public Works and Highways[edit]


DPWH is highly perceived as one of the two most corrupt agencies in the country. Among the most prominent cases which many department executives got involved into was the repair scam. DPWH Undersecretary Salvador A. Pleyto was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman from service due to corruption. To rectify the problem of corruption in the department, it engaged itself in a series of Integrity Assessment. DPWH are among the first agencies to have implemented the electronic National Government Accounting System.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "GAA 2015" (PDF). DBM. Retrieved 22 January 2015.