THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Wednesday that Japan will provide assistance in improving mountain road safety, particularly in the area of slope management.

Japanese experts will also help the Philippines “enhance (its) capability to establish hazard maps for road disaster risk reduction and improve… road disaster information management,” the department said in a statement.

The department said that it recently had the first of a series of meetings with Japan “to discuss the work plan in improving the capabilities of the DPWH and its engineers in incorporating the latest technology to address the problem of road disasters in mountainous areas.”

Public Works Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan recently ordered the creation of a joint coordinating committee chaired by Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain to ensure the success of the technical cooperation project with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

According to Mr. Sadain, the project will help facilitate the development, transfer and dissemination of relevant technology, not just in terms of mitigation but also in the reduction of risks posed by disasters.

“A work plan was presented by the JICA project team to establish coordination with the concerned technical working groups for effective collaboration and smooth conduct of the project,” the department said.

“Given the amount of expertise that is gathered, I am confident that the first meeting will be able to gather timely development outcomes,” Mr. Sadain said.

Twenty-seven sections of road were closed to traffic as of Nov. 1 due to a severe tropical storm.

Seven of those road sections were in the Cordillera Administrative Region, five in Region II, one in Region III, two in Region IV-A, five in Region VI, one in Region VIII, three in Region XII, and three in the Bangsamoro region. — Arjay L. Balinbin