Sunday, August 18, 2013



History (Development) of Civil Engineering (and its Profession) in the Philippines
(Highlights/Milestones of the events)

Researched/Compiled By: Dindo Mojica, C.E., M.Eng, 3°

Note: currently updating



The history of the architecture and civil engineering profession in the Philippines were almost synonymous to each other. In more than three-and-a-half centuries of Spanish subjugation, there were no Filipino civil engineers. Social prejudice constrained the repressed indio builders to content themselves to be called mere Maestro de Obras (Master Builders) even if they could design and build any type of structure that technology could allow at that time. Master Builders as of today were equivalent to Construction Foreman.

Civil Engineering, as practiced in the Philippines during the Spanish era, was not by virtue of an academic title. There were no civil engineering schools in the country at that time and the only architects/engineers with academic degrees were Spaniards.

The walled city in Intramuros was established by the Spaniards as a model community. The Friar Architects/Engineers during that time were the ones who built the government buildings, bridges, residential and other structures, incorporated European standards in engineering and architectural installations.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Filipino engineers were assigned the task of maintaining, repairing and/or remodelling infrastructure systems in all “pueblos” or towns including churches, convents and government buildings.

Maestro de Obras were called by the Ilustrados” or the elite group to build structures in villas and mansions.


Miguel Lopez de Legaspi founded the City of Manila on June 24, 1571

The Spaniards started building Fort Santiago (Fuerte de Santiago) after the establishment of the city of Manila under Spanish rule on June 24, 1571.


With the arrival of the Franciscan Order to Manila in 1577, they began with construction of wood and cane churches that succumbed to natural catastrophes. In 1739 they constructed a stone church that was financed by the public charity and became one of richest in Intramuros.


Designed and built by Jesuit priest Antonio Sedeno from 1586 to 1587, it is one of the oldest stone fortifications in Intramuros. Began as a circular fort called Nuestra Senora de Guia. Renovated in 1593 to join the walls of the city. Fort fell in disrepair and, in 1644, construction began for a new baluarte which was completed between 1653 and 1663. Resembling an ace of spades, it housed a foundry during the 18th century.

The baluarte was breached by British forces with cannon fire in 1762. Restored and strengthened after the British occupation but was damaged during the 1863 earthquake. It was destroyed during the Battler of Manila in 1945. Restoration began in 1979 and completed in 1992. 

1591 – 1631

Construction work for the Santiago castle/fortress was commenced in 1591 and was completed in 1634. This was the work of Leonardo Iturrino, and was the second most important fortress to be built of stone in Manila, the Nuestra Señora de Guía fortress being the first of these.

1596 - 1602

The Santiago fortress was built between 1596 and 1602 on the land promontory between the sea and the Pasig River, and was the most important fortification built in Manila. The walls encircling the city started at this point.


St. Augustine Church is the oldest stone church in the Philippines. It was built in 1599; however, it was also destroyed and rebuilt many times. It is an immense structure of thick walls of Corinthian and Ionic designs.


In 1621, Don Bernardino Castillo, a generous patron and a well-known devotee of St. Sebastian, Patron of Archers, donated his lot, which is now the present site of the San Sebastian Church. The original church, which was made of wood, was burned in 1651 during a Chinese uprising. The succeeding structures were destroyed twice by fire and an earthquake in 1859, 1863, and 1880 respectively.

Father Esteban Martinez, the parish priest at that time, approached the Spanish Architect Genero Palacios with a plan to build a fire and earthquake-resistant church made entirely of steel. Ambeth Ocampo states that the present San Sebastian church was ordered knockdown in steel parts from the Societe Anonyme des Enterprises de Travaux Publiques in Brussels, Belgium.

Two Belgian engineers supervised the construction of the church. On June 12, 1888, the first shipments of steel parts were brought to the Philippines. For two years, the church was assembled with local artists and craftsmen joining the Belgian firm in applying the final finishing touches on this new church of steel. The stained glass windows were imported from the Henri Oidtmann Company, a German stained glass firm. The engineering technique used in the construction of the church, including metal fixtures and the overall structure, were from Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the Eiffel Tower. This was confirmed when Chinese-American architect, I. M. Pei, visited the Philippines in the late 70’s. He came to confirm what he heard about Gustave Eiffel designing a steel church in Asia.


Puente Grande was the first bridge to be erected across the grand Rio del Pasig. Built in 1632, this wooden bridge connects Intramuros and Binondo together, making it easier and relatively faster to travel from one end to the other. It underwent several reconstructions and renovations as it was always heavily damaged by earthquakes. After the 1863 earthquake, Puente Grande was renamed to Puente de España. The bridge was replaced in 1875 widening its spans to masonry of six and two central houses. It can accommodate both pedestrians and vehicles including horse or carabao drawn carts and carriages, and tranvia. This bridge was replaced for the last time with a neo-classical design by Juan Arellano in the 1930s, and was called the Jones Bridge.


Manila was hit by an earthquake and was reconstructed


Irrigation and Water System

The first artesian wells were built in Betis, Pampanga by Fr. Manuel Camanes. The water system in Manila (now MWSS) had its beginning from the water works constructed by Fr. Juan Peguero in 1686. The first irrigation system was constructed in Tanay, Rizal by Fr. Jose Delgado.

(17th Century)

Cavite Friar Land Irrigation System is one of the oldest irrigation systems in the Philippines. Sometimes in the 17th century, the Spanish period encomiendas or Spanish Royal lands grants were implemented in Cavite. The priests were granted by the Spanish King, portions of the agricultural land in Cavite. They subdivided the lands in to four estates namely: Naic Estate, Santa Cruz de Malabon (Tanza) Estate, San Francisco de Malabon (General Trias) Estate and Imus Estate, all of which are now popularly called as Cavite Friar Lands.


The Pasig River Light House was the first lighthouse (masonry-built) erected in the Philippines. It was first lighted on 1846 and deactivated on 1992. It was then located on the north jetty at the mouth of Pasig River, (San Nicolas, Manila) marking the entrance to the river for vessels around Manila Bay, looking to dock on the ports along the banks of the river in Manila.

A light station has been established on the site since 1642. The first lighthouse structure was erected by the ruling Spanish government and lit on September 1, 1846. From its location at the mouth of the historic river, which divides Manila into two sections, it was a welcoming beacon for over a century to all mariners of inter-island vessels when bringing their vessels up into the river for berthing along its busy wharves.

The lighthouse, which was known locally as Farola (Spanish for "lighthouse") was one of the most conspicuous landmarks in the harbor of Manila in the early part of the 20th century. The building and later expansion of the Port of Manila, south of the light station and subsequent land reclamations, has greatly altered the location of the lighthouse obscuring it from the wide expanse of Manila Bay.

The lighthouse was demolished in 1992 and was replaced with an architecturally simpler lighthouse with the new tower built on the foundation of the old one. The Philippine Coast Guard Station of Manila is located adjacent to the lighthouse and the community that developed from the reclaimed lands is now known as "Parola" (Filipino for "lighthouse").

The present tower is a white conical concrete structure with a height of 46 feet (14.02 m) and a focal plane of 43 feet (13.11 m). The old tower was taller at 49 feet (14.94 m). Lighthouses in the Philippines are maintained by the Philippine Coast Guard.


Puente Colgante (which is the term for a suspension bridge in Spanish; literally, hanging bridge) was the first suspension bridge built in Southeast Asia when it was started in 1849 and completed in 1852. It was built and owned by Ynchausti y Compañia, the business headed by Jose Joaquin de Ynchausti. He commissioned the design from Basque engineer Matias Menchacatorre. The bridge was first named Puente de Claveria, likely in honor of the Governor-General of the Philippines Narciso Clavería, who served from 1844-1849.

Puente Colgante was the first suspension bridge, not only the Philippines but in South East Asia as well, and, probably the first toll bridge of its kind in the Philippines, a precursor of the modern Sky Way, albeit for pedestrian use only.

The suspension bridge measured 110 metres (360 ft) long and 7 metres (23 ft) wide, and had two lanes that allowed passage of horses and carabao-drawn carriages. It was also opened for pedestrians traveling on foot between Quiapo and Intramuros and nearby areas.

In 1854 Ynchausti brought together the Ynchausti family holdings under the above name. A Basque Spaniard born in Cadiz, de Ynchausti immigrated to the Philippines in the second quarter of the nineteenth century and built a business empire. In 1889 Ynchausti y Compañia was the largest company in the Philippines.

The 20th-century writer Nick Joaquin described the bridge as it was in the 1870s: “Across the city’s river now arched … the amazing Puente Colgante, suspended in the air, like a salute to the age of science and engineering. The Industrial Age found its expression in the Philippines in the form of a bridge unparalleled throughout Asia.”

Historians dispute local traditions that say the bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (This is also asserted about the Puente de Ayala.) They note the original bridge has been documented as designed by a Basque. (In addition, the 1930s work was performed a decade after Eiffel died in 1923.)


The project for public supply of fresh water to the city dates from the early 18th century. Before this, the city had to be content with a fresh water supply based on cisterns. In 1867, the town council decides to take on the challenge of a project to supply fresh water to the whole of the city. In 1882 the first public water fountain gushed forth its waters, and shortly after this, the technology of the times was successful in providing Manila with a fresh water supply from sources up-river.


It was in 1868 when the Bureau of Public Works and Highways (Obras Publicas) and Bureau of Communications and Transportation (Communicationes y Meteologia) were organized under a civil engineer known as “Director General”.


The founding of Carriedo Waterworks

Manila didn’t get running water until 1878, when the municipal waterworks was established by Governor Domingo Moriones, with money from a fund that by then had become legendary as the Carriedo Legacy. 

A “public-spirited citizen,” Don Francisco Carriedo y Peredo was a Basque from Santander who during his life conferred immense benefits on the Philippines, having migrated in the Philippines early in the 18th century. One of his “obras pias” (pious works), was a legacy he left in his will for the building of a Manila water system. Though Señor Carriedo did not live long enough to see his legacy since he died in 1743, Manila was to be without running water for more than a century longer. Thanks to Governor Moriones who acted on providing Manila with running water that the Carriedo Legacy was finally fulfilled.


On June 25, 1875, King ALFONSO XII of Spain promulgates the Royal Decree directing the Office of the Inspector of Public Works of the Philippines to submit a general plan of railroad in Luzon


The General Plan for Railways was drawn up in 1876 for the island of Luzon, and included a network totalling 1,730 kilometers. A 192 Km stretch of track was constructed between Manila and Dagupan. This operated a regular service as from 1892. The most outstanding works carried out on the railway system were the bridge over the great Pampanga River and the building of Tutubán Station, in the Tondo district.

The tremendous growth of the city of Manila led the administration to contemplate, in 1878, the setting up of a public transport network. Five tramway lines would link the city with its outskirts.


The concession for constructing five tramways in Manila and its suburbs was approved. The plan included a main station at San Gabriel and the crossing of the river via the "Puente de España"


School for Maestro de Obras called Escuela Practica y Artes Oficios de Manila was founded. Its first Filipino graduates were Julio Hernandez (1891), Isidro Medina (1894), Arcadio Arellano (1894) and Juan Carreon (1896)

Puente de Convalecencia or better known as the Ayala Bridge was completed in 1880. Originally it is composed of two separate spans connected by the Isla de Convalecencia, which is home to Hospisio de San Jose, dropping point for abandoned babies, the bridge over this island was originally made of wooden arched trusses.


On November 1, 1883, the study of the first railroad project between Manila and Dagupan done by Antonio dela Camara was appoved


On July 31, 1887, construction of the Manila-Dagupan railroad was started


On November 24, 1892, the entire line from Manila to Dagupan, with a total length of 195.4 kms, was completed and put into commercial operations

18th and 19th CENTURY

Road work in the Philippine Islands during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, under the Spanish regime, consisted in the opening of routes of communication throughout the Islands, in a very thorough manner, and leaving a very valuable asset to the present Government in the matter of the width of right of way, which was incorporated into the law and became a part of the public domain. The location of these routes has been justified, inasmuch, that few changes have been made in the general alignment, except when new sections have opened up and a change in location justified. Grades have been improved and method of construction changed. The right of way, as established by law, has made possible the construction methods of to-day. The use of broken stone or gravel on road work seems not to have been practiced by the Spaniard, as little evidence is found to promulgate this belief.

Two types of construction under Spanish regime were practiced: First, pavement of cut Spanish road. Cut adobe stone pavement. Stone. This was usually of the adobe quality, probably used because it is easily quarried, cut, and handled, the size used called ''ordinario" 20 by 20 centimeters and 50 centimeters long. This makes a very smooth and pretty pavement, but, where an ordinary amount of traffic is encountered, wears very rapidly. Had a hard stone been used, the result would have been of a permanent nature.

Second, Spanish road, rubble-stone pavement. cobblestones. The pavement of cobblestone consisted of boulders probably taken from river beds varying in size from 10 to 30 centimeters in diameter. This type was very durable and lasting, so long as the individual stones retained their position in a bed of earth. Owing to the size used there was no bond, and stones were easily displaced, unless covered with earth, sand, or gravel. This pavement was very rough and, had a second or top course of small gravel been used and bound together with a binding material, would have been in use to-day. Attention is often called to the good roads that existed during the Spanish regime.



The Organic Decree issued by Gen. Emilio Aquinaldo establishing the Philippine Revolutionary Government created four (4) government departments among which was the Department of War and Public Works.

In 1896, after four (4) centuries of Spanish colonization, our Filipino forebears started the revolutionary movement and the struggle to gain freedom began.  On June 12, 1898, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite.  The Organic Decree of the Philippine Revolutionary Government on June 23, 1898 issued by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo provided for the creation of four (4) Departments in the government, one of which was the DEPARTMENT OF WAR AND PUBLIC WORKS.

Though once included in the Department of War, now Department of National Defense, its functions as builder and maintainer of roads, bridges and other public works structures are inherent in the present Department.  The inclusion of public works in the War and Department can be explained by the exigencies of the revolutionary period.  The construction of fortifications and trenches was needed in the cause for freedom which our heroes had fought for.

When Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States in 1898, the public works and activities were placed under the U.S. Army engineers. 


The Malolos Constitution was ratified during a general assembly of Congress, and the first Council of Government of the First Philippine Republic was created.

From January 21, 1899 to May 7, 1899, with Apolinario Mabini as President of the Cabinet (i.e. Prime Minister), Gracio Gonzaga served as the Secretary of Public Welfare, which included the transportation and communications portfolio.

When Mabini was replaced by Pedro Paterno as President of the Cabinet, among the seven departments set up was the Communicaciones y Obras Publicas (i.e. the Communications and Public Works Department). Maximo Paterno was appointed as Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Since then, Public Works, Transportation, and Communications have been grouped into one department.


The coming of the Americans brought about drastic changes in our engineering culture.  The new colonizers pursued “benevolent” policies that focused on English education, public health, free enterprise, and representative governance thus bringing with them were military engineers, Thomasite teachers, doctors and evangelist.

Under the civil government established in July, 1901, such “assimilation” manifested itself physically in the form of infrastructures.  Highways, bridges, schools, hospitals, and government buildings steadily transformed the Philippine landscape.


In his letter dated January 4, 1899 to Filipinos, US Major-General Elwell S. Otis, the Military Governor of the Philippines, announced US President William McKinley’s instructions for the islands’ Benevolent Assimilation. The instructions stated that the management of public property and revenue, and the use of all public means of transportation, were to be conducted by the military authorities (i.e. by the US Army) until such time that they would be transferred back to civilian authority. Thus, the Bureau of Engineering was placed under the supervision of American military engineers. The ports were opened to commerce for all foreign nations.


Foundation of the Liceo de Manila, a private institution offering academic course for maestro de obras and headed by Leon Ma. Guerrero. The first private school to offer an academic title for Maestro de Obras. (the forerunner of formal education in architecture/engineering)

The introduction of reinforced concrete in the Philippines was in the 1900s and its use in the construction of the Masonic Temple (Grand Lodge of the Philippines), the first multi-structure in Escolta, Manila.

On April 20, 1900, the US military authorities returned the railroad to its owner

Early 1900’s

Transportation in the Philippines was depended largely on trails, waterways, railroad, earth roads and partially-gravelled roads. Highway in the Philippines at that time is nothing more than a dream to most Filipinos. The US government initiated the development of roadways in the Philippines connecting towns, cities and provinces. The popular Macadam road type was introduced. It gained acceptance because of abundant supply of stones and gravel. 


By virtue of Act No. 83 passed by the Philippine Commission on February 6, 1901, public works and projects were placed under the “Provincial Supervisions”.

The 1901 municipal code (February 6, 1901) provided for popularly elected municipal board members who were responsible for collecting taxes, maintaining municipal properties, and undertaking necessary construction projects.


The first professional association of architecture and surveyors was born on September 14, 1902 with the creation of the Academia de Arquitectura y Agrimensura de Filipinas (AAAF).

Bureau of Engineering and Construction of Public Works and Bureau of Architecture and Construction of Public Buildings - were created by Act. Numbers 222 and 268 of the Philippine Commission and placed under The Department of Commerce and Police

The Philippine Commission passed Act Nos. 222 and 268 creating the Department of Commerce and Police which gave birth to the Bureau of Engineering and Construction of public works and the Bureau of Architecture and Construction of public buildings.

The Philippine Bill of 1902 (July 1, 1902) or the Philippine Organic Act authorized the Government of the Philippine Islands to provide for the needs of commerce. This includes improving harbours, constructing maintaining bonded warehouses, wharves, piers, light-houses, signal and life-saving stations, buoys, and like instruments of commerce, as well as to adopt and enforce regulations. (The US Congress authorizes the Philippine Government to grant franchise and concession for the construction of public utilities and services)

On December 8, 1902, the first Railroad Legislation Act (Philippine Commission Act No. 554) was passed granting the Manila Railroad Company (MRRCo) the right to construct branch lines


AAFF changed the name of association to Academia de Arquitectura, Ingeniera y Agrimensura de Filipinas (AIAAF) – including civil engineers and surveyors

But everything was confused and disorganized under our tolerant new masters. Even in government, it took several years before the Philippine commission could buckle down to work and create the first Philippine assembly.


The above-mentioned Academia merged with the Liceo and established the Escuela de Ingeniera y Arquitectura, which offered a five-year course in architecture and civil engineering.


The Escuela ceased to operate after its first year of inception.

The Bureau of Public Works was created and placed under Department of Commerce and Police on October 26, 1905

Act No. 1401 of the Philippine Commission passed on October 4, 1905, abolished engineering districts and positions of district engineers.  On October 26 of the same year, however, by virtue of a Reorganization Act, the Bureau of Public Works was created and placed under the Department of Commerce and Police. Along with the economic growth of the country was the need for a more extensive road network that would penetrate the rural areas.  In order to achieve that end, provincial boards were created in 1907 with authority to collect double cedula taxes to finance the construction of provincial roads and bridges.  In addition, the national government appropriated P1,700,000 as aid to such constructions.


On July 7, 1906, Philippine Commission Act No. 1510 was enacted giving the concession of the railway to Speyer and Co. with Mr. Horace Higgins as General Manager


The Faculty of Engineering of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) is the oldest engineering school in the Philippines. It was established on May 18, 1907, as School of Civil Engineering with one program offering leading to the degree of Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE). From faculty records, it appears that it was only in 1912 when the earliest batch of students was conferred their MSCE degrees.

Don Ramon Irureta-Goyena headed the UST-COE. During the early years of U.S. occupation, most of the civil engineers in our country came from America. The College was patterned after the University of Havana in Cuba and was first set up at the second floor of the old UST building in Intramuros.


The above-named Escuela was reorganized and reopened its doors to students but this time offered a three-year course for architecture, civil engineering and electrical engineering.


Wawa Dam (also known as Montalban Dam) is a gravity dam constructed over the Marikina River in the municipality of Rodriguez in Rizal province, Philippines. The slightly arched dam is situated in the 360-metre (1,180 ft) high Montalban Gorge or Wawa Gorge, a water gap in the Sierra Madre Mountains, and east of Manila. It was built in 1909 during the American colonial era to provide the water needs for Metro Manila. It used to be the only source of water for Manila until Angat Dam was built and Wawa was abandoned. Due to insufficiency of water supply for Metro Manila, there was a strong clamor to reuse the dam.


The Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines, in a resolution passed on June 3, 1910, appointed Mr. W.J. Colbert as acting Dean of the College of Engineering. His appointment was set to effect on June 13, 1910 thereby creating the College of Engineering. Dean Colbert was authorized to prepare the curriculum and select the necessary teaching personnel for the new course. Initially, a four-year course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science with an additional degree of Civil Engineer upon completion of an extra year of study was approved. The first instructor to be appointed was Mr. Jose P. Katigbak of the City Engineer’s Office of Manila, as instructor in graphics (drawing) on a part-time basis.

The first appearance of motor vehicles in the Philippine highways in 1910.  Roads and bridges had to be kept in good condition at all times.  Naturally, there was a need for funds to keep the roads passable the whole year round. 


In 1911, the AIAAF was dissolved when the civil engineers (and other engineering profession) withdrew to form their own professional organization (The Philippine Society of Engineers), but not before it has struggled for the passage of an Engineers and Architects Law.


The Escuela was closed.

The Irrigation Act of 1912: Under the American regime, the government initiated policies to stimulate national economic growth through irrigation development. The Irrigation Division under the Bureau of Public Works (BPW) was established in 1908 (the friar lands were sold to govt. which in turn were sold to the tenants in 1902). The Irrigation Act was passed in 1912. This regulated the appropriation of public waters, investigation, construction, operation and maintenance of irrigation systems. It also regulated the appropriation of public waters, prescribed rules on water rights and provided for the securing of payments for irrigation services, from the beneficiaries.


The first NIS, the San Miguel River Irrigation System in Tarlac with a service area of 6000 hectares was inaugurated in 1913. During World War I, all appropriations for irrigation was withdrawn and the Irrigation Division was downgraded to a section in the Design Division of the BPW. Through legislative Act No. 2562, financial assistance was given to existing private irrigation systems covering a minimum of 25 ha, through duly organized corporations or associations of landowners.


Communal irrigation systems (CIS) were simple structures. The earliest on record is as far back as 1914, mostly located in the Ilocos area of northern Philippines and known as the zanjera. The term zanjera is derived from the Spanish term for turnout and used locally to refer to a co-operative irrigation society the function of which was to secure a stable and reliable supply of water for its members. Most zanjeras may have two or more sittios or barrios. Membership may comprise of all land owner or tenants or a combination of both. Water from these systems were usually obtained from river diversions by bamboo and rock structures-the "brush dam." Being temporary structures, the community was brought together in its reconstruction on a regular basis. Different zanjeras may share a single main or diversion dam. In this case, necessary social adaptations were made to settle conflicts between individuals or groups. The construction, repair and maintenance costs of the physical system were shared by all the members through contributions in materials or labor.


On February 4, 1916, By authority of Philippine Legislature Act No. 2574, former Governor General Harrison negotiates the acquisition of the MRRCo by the Philippine Government

The Reorganization Act 2666 as amended by Act No. 2803 dated November 18, 1916 gave birth to the Department of Commerce and Communications (Department of Commerce and Police transformed to The Department of Commerce and Communications), consisting of the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, Bureau of Supply, Bureau of Public Works, Bureau of Posts, Bureau of Labor and Bureau of Coast and Geodetic Survey.

To raise such needed funds, motor vehicles and drivers plying the highways were required to register with fee in 1921.  To keep pace with further development in transportation and communications, the Department of Commerce and Police was transformed into the Department of Commerce and Communications under Reorganization Act No. 2666 of 1916.

18 January 1917 – 03 October 1922

When the first cabinet comprised of Filipinos was organized, Gov. Gen. Francis. B. Harrison appointed Cebu governor Dionisio Jakosalem as Secretary of Commerce and Communication. The construction of roads and public buildings marked his administration as governor of Cebu. He is credited with having linked the southern and northern parts of the province with roads.

1919 – 1954

Metropolitan Water District was founded


The Engineers and Architects Law (Act No. 2985) passed on February 23, 1921. The law created separate Board of Examiners for civil engineering and architecture. They were schooled abroad as civil engineers and architects. Due to the Engineers and Architects Law of 1921, Filipinos were allowed to practice as Architects and Engineers because of their experience as Maestro de Obras in the Spanish Period.

Public Act No. 2985 was enacted empowering the Secretary of Commerce and Communication to appoint members of the boards of the architecture and engineering professions. The Act, which contained very general provisions on the regulation of engineering and architecture, was later amended by Acts No. 3159 and 3182.


A group of civil engineers from the government sector formed the Philippine Society of Civil Engineers (PSCE) which was the first civil engineering organization in the Philippines with Engr. Marcial Kasilag as its first president.

Engr. Kasilag thereupon received the honor of holding PRC Registration Number 1 for Civil Engineers. He then occupied a high-ranking position in the government and the early members of PSCE were government engineers. There were relatively few civil engineers in private practice during that time as most of the early graduates were readily engaged by the various government agencies.


Puente Colgante Bridge was replaced by a modern steel arch bridge during early 1930’s. It was renamed Quezon Bridge after Manuel L. Quezon, the president of the Philippines at that time.


Department of Commerce and Communications renamed as the Department of Public Works and Communications 

More development for the Department took place in 1931 when the Philippine Legislature passed on May 1 of that year Act No. 4007, renaming the Department of Commerce and Communications as Department of Public Works and Communications.  This Act, however, did not state the proper composition and functions of the DPWC.



On August 2, 1935, Act Number 4211 was enacted – permitting under-aged persons to take the board exam on condition that they will not practice their profession until they attained the required age of 21.

During the inauguration of the Commonwealth Government on November 15, 1935, a reorganization of the DPWC was undertaken.  Under the set up, it was composed of the Bureau of Public Works, Ports, Aeronautics, Coast and Geodetic Survey, Metropolitan Water District Division of Marine, Railway and Repair Shop, National Radio Broadcasting, Irrigation Council and Board of Examiners for Civil, Mechanical, Chemical and Mining Engineers.


The Philippine Association of Civil Engineers (PACE) was formed from a group of civil engineers in the private sector with Engr. Enrique Sto. Tomas Cortes as its first president.

The objectives of both organizations were similar with each other in which both of them wants to: "elevate the standards of the profession, encourage research and engineering knowledge and technology, foster fellowship among members, and promote interrelation with other technological and scientific societies".

The PACE being the most active than the PSCE led to the transfer of many PSCE members to PACE.


In 1938, statutes for practice of architecture from engineering separated by law – National Assembly Bill No. 1850

On January 31, 1938, the first Bicol train was put into operation

On May 8, 1938, the unified system of railroad from San Fernando, La Union in the North to Legazpi in the South was formally inaugurated


Highway 54 was the former name of the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA). Stretching some 54 kilometers, Highway 54 serves as a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Filipinos passing or doing business in Metro Manila.

It formed a major part of the circumferential roads in Metro Manila. From the south, it passes through five cities Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, and Caloocan. Its southern endpoint is at the rotunda near the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City while its northern point is at Monumento in Caloocan City near the Andres Bonifacio monument.

When the avenue was constructed in 1940 by engineers led by Florencio Moreno and Osmundo L. Monsod, it was first named as North and South Circumferential Road. But at the end of World War II, the American occupiers changed the name to Highway 54.

But in 1959, by virtue of Republic Act 2140, the highway was renamed in honor of Epifanio de los Santos, a famous statesman of the province of Rizal.



The tides of war in the Pacific came in December 1941 and thereby interrupted the normal operations of the schools and colleges. By order of the President of the Philippines, all schools were closed. When the Japanese forces entered Manila in January 1942, they occupied the College/School buildings.

In 1941, outbreak of World War II, the Department of Public Works and Communications (DPWC) and other government offices were practically abolished due to dislocation of manpower, lack of funds, materials and equipment, installation of enemy administration and the setting up of resistance movement.

24 December 1941 to 01 August 1944

During the Japanese occupation, the exiled Commonwealth government of President Manuel Quezon issued Executive Order 396, which reorganized and grouped the cabinet. The Department of Public Works and Communication became the Department of National Defense, Public Works, Communications and Labor, with Basilio Valdes as Secretary.


On Philippine soil, to mitigate the sufferings of the people under the iron-clad rule of the Japanese, the Philippine Executive Commission was established. Under President Jose P. Laurel’s administration, Quintin Paredes served as Minister of Public Works and Communications.

Caliraya Dam is an embankment dam located in the town of Lumban province of Laguna, in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range of the Philippines. The reservoir created by the dam, Lake Caliraya, initially supplied one of the oldest hydroelectric plants in the Philippines, and later became a popular recreational area for numerous water sports and fishing. The dam construction was started in 1939 and a small hydroelectric plant was operated in 1942.


After the Second World War, the new independent Philippine government continued the rehabilitation and construction of roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructures, through the reparations and war damages paid by the Japanese government. Other financial grants and aids received from the US government were used in the construction and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructures.


President Sergio Osmeña issued Executive Order 15-W on August 8, 1944 reorganizing and consolidating the Executive Departments of the Commonwealth government with Secretary Basilio Valdes as Secretary of National Defense and Communications.


The reorganization of the government after it was re-established on Philippine soil was undertaken with Executive Order No. 27 on February 27. The Department of National Defense and Communications was again named Department of Public Works and Communications.

08 March 1945-1946

Justice Sotero Cabahug replaced Secretary Valdes as Secretary of Public Works and Communications.



Resuming its operation in 1946, the Department of Public Works and Communications (DPWC) started with limited human resources, funds, materials and equipment.  An office of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads was set up to cooperate with the Philippine Bureau of Public Works in implementing the highway program as authorized by the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946.

1946 – 1948

Ricardo Nepumoceno served as Secretary of Public Works and Communications under the administration of President Manuel Roxas. He continued to do so under the administration of President Elpidio Quirino.


The authority of the Department of Public Works and Communications was further expanded when, in 1947, the Motor Vehicles Office was placed under its direct supervision.


The country’s premiere airport, Manila International Airport Authority was originally a US Air Force base until 1948, when it was turned over to the Philippine government’s National Airport Corporation. The fledgling civil aviation airport’s facilities were nothing more than the current domestic runway and a small building as its only passenger terminal.


Laws separating statutes between architects and engineers passed


The momentum to rebuild from the ashes of WWII and replace destroyed public edifices and utilities made the 1950s an eventful decade for the construction industry. 

1950 – 1956

The Ambuklao dam was the highest and biggest in the Far East. It is made of earth and rockfull which measures 129 meters in height and 452 meters in length. The elevation of its crest is 758 meters and the roadway that runs through the top of the dam has an elevation of 756 meters. There are 8 Tainter radial gates at the dam's spillway. Each spillway measures 12.5 meters by 12.5 meters and is 127 meters in length. The gross storage capacity of the dam's reservoir is 327,170,000 cubic meters and it has a usable storage capacity of 258,000,000 cubic meters. The drainage area is 686 square kilometers and is 11 km long with a maximum width of 1 km. Construction began on July 1950 and opened on December 23, 1956.


On June 17, 1950, the Architects (Philippine Institute of Architects) prepared and lobbied the passing of the first Architect’s law (RA 545) while the Civil Engineers (Philippine Association of Civil Engineers), the Civil Engineering law (RA 544, through the efforts of PACE President Alberto Guevarra) was also passed the same year. They jointly celebrated the passing of their respective laws at the Manila Hotel Winter Garden.


Department of Public Works and Communications (DPWC) was reconstituted as The Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (DPWTC)

President Elpidio Quirino under Executive Order No. 392 in 1951, the DPWC was again reconstituted to Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (DPWTC) to include the Bureaus of Public Works, Posts, Telecommunications, Motor Vehicles Office, Irrigation Council, Flood Control Commission, Radio Control Board, National Transportation Board and Government Quarters Committee.

Taking cognizance of the social impact of the road network to national growth, the Philippine Highway Act of 1953 or Republic Act No. 917 providing for an effective highway administration modified apportionment of highway funds and gave aid to provinces and cities for the improvement and maintenance of roads and bridges.

In relation to road and bridge construction and maintenance, the Bureau of Public Highways was created in 1954 by virtue of the Republic Act No. 1192 and placed under the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications.  This Act provided for a more effective management of the Philippine Highways under a Commissioner.  Active plans & programs were formulated & implemented.

With the abolition of National Airport Corporation in 1951, ownership and management of the airport fell to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) under the Department of Commerce & Industry. In 1956, the CAA was transferred to the Department of Public Works, Transportation & Communications.


Bureau of Public Highways (BPH) was created and placed under The Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (DPWTC)


R.A. No. 1080 was enacted on June 15, 1954 – making bar and board exam (passers) are equivalent to First-Grade Civil Service eligibility.


REPUBLIC ACT No. 1383 was approved on June 18, 1955


The first road classification system in the country was established through Republic Act No. 917, known as the Philippine Highway Act, enacted in 1953 and Executive Order 113, series of 1955 which classified roads into national roads (national primary and national secondary), “national aid” roads (roads of sufficient importance for eventual reclassification at a later stage) and provincial/city/municipal/barangay roads.

1955 – 1970

National Waterworks and Sewerage System Authority (NAWASA) was created through RA 1383


On June 16, 1956, the Civil Engineering law was further amended by Republic Act No. 1582. On the same year, the Architecture law was further amended by Republic Act No. 1581.

Ambuklao Dam is part of a hydroelectric facility in Brgy. Ambuklao, Bokod, Benguet province in the Philippines. The development of the Agno River for purposes of hydroelectric power generation, flood control, and irrigation had been conceived as early as the late 1940s. Preliminary investigations for development at Ambuklao and Binga Dam sites were undertaken as early as January 1948. With maximum water storage capacity of 327,170,000 cubic metres (265,240 acre•ft), the facility, which is located 36 km (22 mi) from Baguio city, can produce up to 105 megawatts of electricity to Luzon grid. The main source of water comes from the Agno River which originates from Mt. Data.

Ambuklao Dam bagan its construction on July 1950 and opened on December 23, 1956.


Agusan Dam started construction on May 1956 and it opened on December 29, 1957.


Philippines had created one of the top countries in the world that produces architects and engineers since the 60′s

Private and infrastructure developments were not in existence in the country to make use of these new architects and engineers

Shortage of projects in the country have resulted to an influx of Filipino architects and engineers’ migration to the US and Europe which started in the 60′s

Inexpensive labor and be able to communicate in English of these Filipino professionals made them attractive to be hired by these developed countries

Due to their proficiency in English (compared to other immigrants), Filipino architects/engineers have successfully assimilated in the political and economic structure in their host country

Many architects and engineers have established their own firms and/or had “broken the ceiling” within their firms

Due to their numbers, Filipino architects and engineers globally have formed their own groups and made alliances with other Filipino associations

Many Filipino architects and engineers in the Philippines have found contract work overseas

The North Luzon Expressway (NLE or NLEx), and which is formerly called the North Diversion Road and Manila North Expressway (MNEX), and officially known as Radial Road 8 is a 2 to 8-lane limited-access toll expressway that connects Metro Manila to the provinces of the Central Luzon region in the Philippines. It is one of the two branches of the Radial Road 8 (R-8) of Metro Manila (Quirino Highway is the other). It was built in the 1960s.

The expressway begins in Quezon City at a cloverleaf interchange with EDSA: a continuation of Andres Bonifacio Avenue. It then passes through Quezon City, Caloocan, and Valenzuela in Metro Manila. Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, Malolos, Plaridel, and Pulilan in Bulacan. San Simon, San Fernando, Mexico and Angeles in Pampanga. The expressway currently ends at Mabalacat and merges with the MacArthur Highway, which continues northward into the rest of Central and Northern Luzon.

Presently, it was maintained by Tollways Management Corporation with a total length of 84 km

1960 – 1980’s

The automobile age. It was during the decade that road construction becomes a matter of priority of the government under the slogan: “This nation is on Wheels.”


Binga Dam is a dam connected to a hydroelectric power plant situated at Barrio Binga, Barangay Tinongdan in Itogon, Benguet, Philippines. The plant was constructed in 1956 and was opened in 1960, three years after Ambuklao Dam was opened. It is located 31 km southeast of Baguio City and 19 km downstream of Ambuklao Dam. Improvement of the dam is on-going for it had received heavy damage during the 1990 Luzon earthquake, and its installed capacity of 100 MW is being upgraded to 120 MW.

In 1960, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures prepared a system of units designated the “Systeme Internationale d’ Unites” with the abbreviation SI, for worldwide adoption. It has been adopted and used by most of the over 160 countries in the world, with the exception of Borneo, the Sultanate of Brunei, Liberia and notably the United States.


The first thirteen years of the airport were marked by the building of infrastructure dedicated to international flights. The international runway and associated taxiway were built in 1953, and 1961 saw the completion of a control tower and a terminal building for the exclusive use of international passengers at the southwest intersection of the runways. This system came to be officially known as the Manila International Airport (MIA).

The Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP) was founded.


Angat Dam located at Norzagaray, Bulacan started its construction on November 1961 and opened on October 16, 1967 with height of 131 meters, length of 568 meters and base width of 550 meters. The source of dam is the Angat River, with a capacity of 850 million cubic meters


REPUBLIC ACT No. 3597 was approved on June 22, 1963 (NAWASA Act)


The National Irrigation Administration is a government-owned and controlled corporation tasked with the development and operation of Irrigation Systems all over the country. It was created under RA 3601 which was signed on June 22, 1963 by then President Diosdado P. Macapagal.

Its forerunner was the Irrigation Division of the defunct Bureau of Public Works. By virtue of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1 issued by President Ferdinand Marcos, all irrigation activities were integrated under the NIA. The Agency’s power was likewise broadened and capitalization increased from P300 M to 2 B by the issuance of PD 552 on September 11, 1072. Capitalization was further increased to P10 B under PD 1702 on July 17, 1980.

NIA absorbed the functions of the Irrigation Division of the Bureau of Public Works and the Irrigation Unit of the Bureau of Lands and Friar Lands Irrigation System. This hybrid nature of NIA enabled it to use funds from the government treasury for constructing and rehabilitating irrigation systems, the underlying premise being that irrigation benefited not only the farmers, but the broader society as well.


On June 20, 1964, Republic Act No. 4156 is enacted. It changes the corporate name of Manila Railroad Company (MRRCo) to Philippine National Railways (PNR)


R.A No. 4566 was enacted on June 19, 1965 – regulating constructions or “The Contractor’s License Law”


Angat Dam is a concrete water reservoir embankment hydroelectric dam that supplies the Manila metropolitan area water. It was a part of the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system. The reservoir supplies about 90 percent of raw water requirements for Metro Manila through the facilities of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and it irrigates about 28,000 hectares of farmland in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga. Construction began on November 1961 and it opened on October 16, 1967.

R.A. No. 5181 was enacted on September 8, 1967 – requiring residence and reciprocity in the exercise of professions by aliens.



President Ferdinand Marcos appointed Manuel Syquio as Acting Secretary of Public Works and Communications.


The 70’s is commonly known as the Martial Law years.  Declared in 1972, the first few years of its implementation brought about good things to our country.  But its later years proved to be the most trying times of our country.  Incidentally, the construction industry in the Middle East was at its peak and civil engineers and architects were in demand. 

In the early 1970's, there were already 591 national and municipal ports plus 200 private ports scattered all over the country necessitating the need for long-range planning and rationalization of port development.

1971 - 1997

On 19 June 1971, Republic Act 6234 was enacted. It dissolved the National Waterworks and Sewerage System (NAWASA) and created in its place the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS). MWSS was thus given the mandate “to ensure an uninterrupted and adequate supply and distribution of potable water for domestic and other purposes at just and equitable rates.” The proper operation and maintenance of sewerage systems was likewise part of its mandate.


On August 20, 1971, Republic Act No. 6366 was passed amending the PNR Charter


PACE President Engr. Cesar A. Caliwara, exerted a serious effort in merging the two organizations. Leaders of PACE and PSCE negotiated, and talked about the choice of name. Some concerns were raised such as formal accounting and turnover of assets and liabilities, accreditation of bonafide members and election rules for the first officers which were sooner resolved.


On June 1973, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree 223, creating the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) regulating all professions and accrediting only one organization to represent each profession.

On December 11, 1973, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued Registration Certificate No.53896 to the PHILIPPINE INSTITUTE OF CIVIL ENGINEERS, INC. (PICE). This was the culmination and fulfilment of a vision to merge two separate organizations of civil engineers in the country, the Philippine Society of Civil Engineers (PSCE) and the Philippine Association of Civil Engineers (PACE).

Presidential Decree No. 198, also known as “The Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973,” was signed into law on May 25, 1973.That law created the Local Water Utilities Administration or LWUA in the national level and provided for the establishment of Water Districts in provincial cities and municipalities.

A feasibility study and airport master plan was drawn up in 1973 by Airways Engineering Corporation. The detailed engineering design of the new MIA Development Project (MIADP) was undertaken by Renardet-Sauti/Transplan/F.F. Cruz Consultants while the design of the International Passenger Terminal building was prepared by Architect L.V. Locsin & Associates. A US$29.6 Million loan was arranged with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance the project.


On February 1974, the first election of officers of PICE was held and Engr. Cesar Caliwara became its first president. In order to truly unite the civil engineers of the Philippines, provincial chapters were organized.

Bureau of Public Highways (BPH) was expanded as The Department of Public Highways (DPH)

The former Bureau of Public Highways was expanded and restructured into the Department of Public Highways (DPH) for a more effective administration of the country’s highway system through Administrative Order No. 2, dated July 1, 1974.


The first International convention was held in the Philippines on May 20 to 24, 1975 with the theme “Civil Engineering in Disaster Prevention Control." (Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers)

On August 13, 1975, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) recognized the PICE as the only official organization of civil engineers in the Philippines with Accreditation No. 007

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 693 (Construction of Magat Dam) was enacted on May 7, 1975

PD No. 693 - Authorizing the Construction of the Magat River Multi-Purpose Project in Isabela, Providing for the Financing Thereof, and for Other Purposes.

National Housing Authority (NHA) was created under PD 757 to oversee housing development on a national level.

The Philippine Ports Authority was created under Presidential Decree No. 505 which was subsequently amended by P.D. No. 857 in December 1975.

In 1975, President Ferdinand Marcos, by a Presidential Decree, the System Internationale (SI) system of units was mandated in the Philippines


With the shift in the form of government, national agencies were renamed from Departments to Ministries.  In 1976, Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (DPWTC) became Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (MPWTC) & Department of Public Highways (DPH) as Ministry of Public Highways (MPH).

In 1976, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) was created through the National Water Code of the Philippines (Water Code of the Philippines) to coordinate policies concerning water resources.


PD 1096, otherwise known as the National Building Code of the Philippines (the “NBCP”) signed by then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos on 19 February 1977 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (“IRR”);

Pantabangan Dam is an earth-fill embankment dam on the Pampanga River located in Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija province of the Philippines. The multi-purpose dam provides water for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation while its reservoir, Pantabangan Lake, affords flood control. The reservoir is considered one of the largest in Southeast Asia and also one of the cleanest in the Philippines. Construction on the dam began in 1971 and it was completed in 1977.

In May 1969, the Congress of the Philippines authorized the development of the Pampanga Basin with Republic Act No. 5499. In October of that year, detailed studies of the Pantabangan site were carried out and lasted two years. By June 11, 1971, Pantabangan was an old town of around 300 years old. President Ferdinand Marcos and many others arrived for a ground breaking ceremony in Palayupay, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, to signal the beginning of the construction of Pantabangan Dam. The dam went into operation in February 1977 and was completed later in May. Approximately 1,300 people were relocated from the dam's reservoir zone.


Under the 1973 Constitution, a Parliamentary Form of governance was established and departments were renamed into ministries establishing the formal ministry system. Hence, the Department of Public Works and Communications became the Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (MPWTC).

The National Engineering Center (NEC) was established as per P.D. No. 1295. It is an agency supported by the National Government and by the UNDP. The NEC will be an umbrella body under which the non-teaching activities of the college will be administered. These units include: The National Hydraulics Research Center (NHRC), the Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (TCAGP), the UP Industrial Research Center (UPIRC), and the Transport Training Center (TTC), and the Building Research Services (BRS).

On June 11, 1978, Presidential Decree Number 1594 or “The Prescribing Policies, Guidelines, Rules and Regulations for Government Infrastructure Contracts” was promulgated.

Presidential Decree No. 1350 was promulgated on April 7, 1978 – allowing applicants for citizenship to take the board exam pending the approval of their petition.

1978 – 1982

The construction and appurtenant structures was authorized by P.D. 693 signed on May 7, 1975 by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The Magat Dam was constructed in 1978 and inaugurated by the Late Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos on October 27, 1982 and started operations in 1983.

Implementation of this multipurpose project was based on the preliminary study conducted in 1973 by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) with the assistance of the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

It was a Rock-fill dam with a height of 114 meters and length of 4, 160 meters.


On July 23, 1979 under Executive Order No. 546, MPWTC was again restructured into two (2) Ministries – the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), integrating all bureaus and offices concerned with public works functions and activities under the Ministry of Public Works.  The same went true with all offices involved in transportation and communications which were placed under the supervision and administration of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Minister Jose P. Dans served as head of the MOTC.

On July 23, 1979, by Executive Order No. 546, PNR becomes one of the attached agencies of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, now DOTC


Major highways and expressways were constructed through the financial assistance and loans from foreign banks


In 1980 President Marcos founded the Rural Waterworks Development Corporation (RWDC), responsible for water supply in areas where neither MWSS nor LWUA carries out the service or assists the LGUs, respectively. The RWDC was expected to create rural water supply associations in order to construct, operate, and maintain their own water supply systems in communities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants.

On July 12, 1980, the country's president, Ferdinand E. Marcos, created the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) as a government agency. The Chairman was the then First Lady and Governor of Metro Manila, Imelda Romualdez Marcos. This LRTA confined its activities to determining policies, to the regulation and fixing of fares, and to the planning of extensions to the system. The project was called Metrorail and was operated by a sister company of the former tramway company Meralco, called Metro, Inc.

Initial assistance for building the LRT project came from the Belgian government which granted a P300 million "soft" and interest-free loan with a repayment time of 30 years. The project was expected to pay for itself within a period of 20 years out of revenue alone. A Belgian consortium consisting of ACEC (Ateliers de Constructions Electriques de Charleroi, BN), (Constructions Ferroviaires et Metalliques, formerly Brugeoise et Nivelles), TEI (Tractionnel Engineering International) and TC (Transurb Consult) provided an additional loan of P700 million. The consortium provided the cars, signalling, power control, telecommunications, training and technical assistance. The entire system was expected to be financially "in the red" well into 1993. Against an expected gross revenue of P365 million for the first operating year, government losses were thought likely to reach P216 million. The system was designed as a public utility rather than as a profit center.

Construction of the line started in October 1981, and was the responsibility of CDCP (Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines), with assistance from the Swiss firm of Losinger and the American company Dravo, the latter, through its Philippine subsidiary. The government appointed Electrowatt Engineering Services of Zurich (Switzerland) to manage and supervise the project. Electrowatt set up offices in Manila and became responsible for extension studies of the system which eventually comprised 150 km of routes along all major corridors in about 20 years’ time.

Martial Law executed Letter of Instruction 1000 on March 20, 1980 – the Malacanang edict of having just one organization for each profession to be accredited by the Professional Regulations Commission.


MPW and MPH were merged to become The Ministry of Public Works and Highways (MPWH)

Under Executive Order No. 710 dated July 27, 1981, the Ministries of Public Works and Public Highways were merged for a more effective and sustained implementation of infrastructure projects.  Under the restructured set-up, the agency was known as the Ministry of Public Works and Highways (MPWH) with 14 regional offices, 94 districts and 60 city engineering offices, five (5) bureaus and six (6) service offices, in addition to corporations and councils attached to the Ministry for administrative supervision.

In as early as 1981, the Philippine Board of Examiners for the Various Licensure Examinations for the Practice of Engineering and Architecture began to use the new system of units, SI.


The increase of handheld calculators revolutionized engineering, with faster and more efficient calculations leaving the old slide rule behind.


Magat Dam is a large rock-fill dam on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The dam is located on Magat River, a major tributary of Cagayan River. Construction of the dam started in 1975 and completed in 1982. Magat Dam is one of the largest dams in the Philippines and has two primary purposes: as a source of irrigation water and as a provider of hydroelectric power.

The construction and appurtenant structures was authorized by P.D. 693 signed on May 7, 1975 by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The Magat Dam was constructed in 1978 and inaugurated by the Late Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos on October 27, 1982 and started operations in 1983.

Implementation of this multipurpose project was based on the preliminary study conducted in 1973 by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) with the assistance of the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Subsequent detailed and extensive dam site investigation and engineering studies further confirmed the feasibility of what is now known as NIA's most daring infrastructure project and one of Asia's biggest dams today.

It was Southeast Asia's first large multipurpose dam. The dam is part of the Magat River Multipurpose Project (MRMP) which was financed by the World Bank and whose purpose is to improve on the existing Magat River Irrigation System (MARIS) and to triple the production of rice in the Cagayan River basin.
The project was jointly financed by the Philippine Government and the World Bank which extended a US$150M loan to finance the foreign exchange requirement. In addition, a US$9M loan from Bahrain was obtained for the purchase of other equipment for the diversion tunnels, soils laboratory and model testing. The total project cost is US$3.4B (yr. 1975).

The Magat Dam is located on the Magat River at the boundary between the municipalities of Alfonso Lista in the province of Ifugao and Ramon in Isabela both on the island of Luzon, approximately 350 kilometres (220 mi) north of Metro Manila. The Magat River is the largest tributary of the Cagayan River, the longest river in the country.


Ipo Dam is a gravity concrete water reservoir dam found in the Philippines. The dam is located about 7.5 kilometres downstream of the Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan province. It was a part of the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system. Its normal level is 110 m.

The Ipo Dam is a gravity concrete dam located about 7.5 kilometres downstream of the Angat Dam near its confluence with the Ipo River in Bulacan. It was completed in January 1984 with a maximum storage capacity of 7.5 million cubic metres, an increase of about 2,500 million litres per day (MLD) from the old Ipo Dam, which used to be located 200 metres upstream of the new dam.

The spill level of the dam is at an elevation of 101 metres and it has seven radial floodgates. The watershed topography is characterised by mountainous terrain similar to the Angat Reservoir Watershed with moderate forest cover. The watershed has an area of about 70 square kilometers and receives an average annual rainfall of 3,500 millimeters. Tributaries to the Angat River at this section include the Ipo, Sapa Pako and Sapa Anginon Rivers. These tributaries drain into the Angat River from the eastern section of the watershed.

Water from the dam is diverted to the Novaliches Portal and the La Mesa Dam through three intake structures going down to three connecting tunnels into five connecting aqueducts.



Finally, by virtue of Executive Order No. 124, dated January 30, 1987, the Ministry of Public Works and Highways (MPWH) is now known as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with five (5) bureaus, six (6) services, 16 regional offices, 24 project management offices, 16 regional equipment services and 118 district engineering offices.

As the primary engineering and construction arm of the government, the DPWH is responsible for the planning, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructures such as roads and bridges, flood control systems, water resource development projects and other public works in accordance with national objectives.

On August 17, 1987, Republic Act No. 6639 was enacted and the MIA was renamed the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The MIA Authority however, retained its corporate name since the law did not amend the original or revised charters of the MIAA.


On August 23, 1989, the Tutuban Station and part of the railroad yard was leased out for shopping mall development.  PNR Management Center transfers to its Training Center site in Caloocan City and PNR Operations Center transfers to its railway station in Paco, Manila.

The La Mesa Watershed and Eco-Park consists of the La Mesa Dam and an ecological nature reserve site in Quezon City commissioned in 1929 in the Philippines. It is part of the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system, which supplies most of the water supply of Metro Manila. The La Mesa Dam is an earth dam whose reservoir can hold up to 50.5 million cubic meters and occupying an area of 27 square kilometers.
The water collected in the reservoir is treated on-site by the Maynilad Water Services, and at the Balara Treatment Plant further south by the Manila Water. Both water companies are private concessionaires awarded by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, the government agency in charge of water supply. It is a vital link to the water requirements of 12 million residents of Metro Manila considering that 1.5 million liters of water pass through this reservoir every day. It is also the last forest of its size in the metropolis.


And for the first time, a "Civil Engineering Week" for the period November 3 to 9, 1991 was declared by Malacañang thru Proclamation No.799 issued on September 20, 1991 by President Corazon C. Aquino. The C.E. week was celebrated nationwide thru coordinated activities of all PICE chapters and the PICE National Board culminating in the most successful and well-attended '91 PICE Annual Convention (1,400 plus registered participants).


The Board of Civil Engineering (at PRC) held its first fully computerized (board) examinations on May 29, 1993 and released the results on November 9, 1993.


On February 28, 1995, the Syllabi for the Subjects in the Civil Engineering licensure examinations were promulgated.

1997 up to present

The privatization of MWSS

In 1997, the Legislature passed into law Republic Act 8041, also known as “The Water Crisis Act.” The Act, which paved the way for the privatization of MWSS, had as its primary objectives the following:

·         Transfer financial burden to the private sector
·         Improve service standards
·         Increase operational efficiency
·         Minimize tariff impact

In August that year, the Philippine government entered into a 25-year Concession Agreement with two private consortia comprised of local and international partners. This effectively transferred the operational responsibilities of MWSS to Manila Water Company, Inc. (for the East Zone) and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (for the West Zone).


RA 8981 or Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) Modernization Act of 2000 was enacted and signed into law on December 5, 2000 by President Joseph Ejercito Estrada


Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Inc. (PICE) has been awarded by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) as the Most Outstanding Accredited Professional Organization.


The San Roque Dam, operated under San Roque Multipurpose Project (SRMP) is a 200 meters tall, 1.2 kilometer long embankment dam on the Agno River. It spans the municipalities of San Manuel and San Nicolas, Pangasinan and is nearly 200 km north of Metro Manila.

The dam impounds a reservoir with a surface area of about 12.8 square kilometers extending North into the municipality of Itogon, Benguet. A gated spillway protects the dam from overtopping. Each wet season, the run-off is stored for later release via water turbines to generate power and irrigate crops.
Agno River is the third largest river in the Philippines with a total length of 221 kilometers and a drainage basin at the Project site of 1,225 square kilometers. The river originates in the Cordillera Mountains, initially flows from north to south, and divides into several channels in the flat central plain of Luzon and meanders westerly through the provinces of Pangasinan and Tarlac before emptying into the Lingayen Gulf.

San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC) financed and constructed the SRMP under a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the National Power Corporation (NPC) on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis. SRPC substantially completed the SRMP at midnight, February 14, 2003, at which time its peaking power, irrigation, flood control and enhanced water quality benefits became available to the surrounding regions, which include the Northwest Luzon Economic Growth Quadrangle. In reality, all but its power benefits have been available since mid-2002 when the dam and spillway were completed.
Ownership of the dam and spillway was transferred to NPC upon construction completion, as it contributed funds for the non-power components on behalf of several agencies. SRPC will own and operate the power generating facilities for 25 years, after which their ownership transfers to NPC.


The United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) and the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) signed a joint resolution supporting the passage of Architecture and Civil Engineering bills delineating their respective scope of practice and to strengthen their collaborative efforts in common goals. The two professional groups through their leaders stressed the need for the immediate passage of their respective bills, which would benefit their hundreds of thousand members nationwide.


Last March 17, 2004, RA 9266 or “The Architecture Act of 2004” was passed into law.



In 2004, the Architecture Act was passed and signed into law. But in 2005, a petition for declaratory relief filed on May 3 2005 by the PICE and Engr. Leo Cleto Gamolo to declare null and void Sections 302.3 and 302.4 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (“Revised IRR”) of Presidential Decree No. 1096 (the “National Building Code”).  The said provisions require that architectural documents submitted in applications for building permits must be prepared, signed and sealed by architects. PICE claim that the said sections of the Revised IRR, by effectively prohibiting Civil Engineers from also preparing, signing and sealing architectural documents, are contrary to the National Building Code and the Republic Act No. 544 (the “Civil Engineering Law”), which purportedly gave Civil Engineers the said right.


Since November 2006 CE Board Exam, the Professional Regulation Commission releases only Top 10 Board Exam Performers and stopped releasing the 11th to 20th places

Executive Order No. 566 issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dated September 8, 2006 directing the Commission on Higher Education to regulate the establishment and operation of review centers and similar entities


November 2007 CE Board Exam was invalidated (retake last January 2008 for Hydraulics and Geotechnical Engineering)

Note: Results of retake exam (Hydraulics and Geotechnical Engineering) was released last January 2008

Commission on Higher Education makes Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) based on Executive Order No. 566


After several court hearings at the Manila Regional Trial Court, the PICE's motion was denied on January 29, 2008 and the RTC ruled in favor of the architects. [National Capital Judicial Region, Regional Trial Court, Branch 22 Manila – Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Inc. and Leo Cleto Gamolo, Petitioners versus The Honorable Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., in his capacity as Secretary of Public Works and Highways as Respondent, and United Architects of the Philippines as Intervenor-Respondent for Civil Case Number 05-112502 for: Declaratory Relief, Injunction with prayer for Writ of Preliminary Prohibition and/or Mandatory Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order]

2010 up to present


House of the Representatives

House Bill No. 2200

House Bill No. 2200 as filed by Representative Salvador H. Escudero III

Status of the Bill: Pending with the Committee on CIVIL SERVICE AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION since 2010-08-11

House Bill No. 2797

House Bill No. 2797 as filed by Representatives Rufus B. Rodriguez and Maximo B. Rodriguez, Jr.

Status of the Bill: Pending with the Committee on CIVIL SERVICE AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION since 2010-09-01

House Bill No.  4071

House Bill No. 4071 as filed by Representative Angelo Palmones

Status of the Bill: Pending with the Committee on CIVIL SERVICE AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION since 2011-02-02

House Bill No. 4456

House Bill No. 4456 as filed by Representative Aurelio “Dong” D. Gonzales Jr.

House Bill No. 5940

Status of the Bill:
Submitted by the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation on March 1, 2012
Recommending its approval in substitution of HB No. 2200, 2797, 4071 and 4456
(It was approved in substitution of HB Nos.2200, 2797, 4071 and 4456)

Sponsors: Representatives Andres D. Salvacion Jr., Salvador H. Escudero III (Sorsogon 1st District), Rufus B. Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City, 2nd District), Maximo B. Rodriguez Jr. (Abante Mindanao Partylist-ABAMIN), Angelo Palmones (Agham Partylist) and Aurelio D. Gonzales Jr. (Pampanga 3rd District)

Hon. Andres Salvacion Jr. (of Leyte 3rd District) was chairman of Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation


The Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization will conduct a Public Hearing on Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 1:00 PM at the Sen. Padilla Room, 2nd Floor, Senate of the Philippines, Pasay City to deliberate on the following legislative measures:

Senate Bill No. 2109: “AN ACT FURTHER AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 544, AS AMENDED, OR THE CIVIL ENGINEERING LAW” (Introduced by Senator F. Escudero);
15th Congress
Filed on July 27, 2010 by Escudero, Francis "Chiz" G.
Status: Pending in the Committee (9/15/2010)

Filed on March 31, 2011 by Lacson, Panfilo M.
Status: Pending in the Committee (5/9/2011)


Last March 2012, the Board of Civil Engineering wrote to Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) that the board exam questions will be increased from 30/35 (per subject) to 100 problems  per subject effective for May 2012 CE Board Exams. Meaning, there are 100 problems per subject or a 300-item board exam questions.

The issue (National Building Code issue) was brought by the PICE to the Court of Appeals. In January 5, 2012, the Court of Appeals of the Philippines, in its decision granted the appeal of PICE and reversed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court thus giving the Civil Engineers the right to prepare, sign and seal Plans and Designs of Buildings such as Vicinity Map/Location Plan, Site Development Plan, Perspective, Floor Plans, Elevations, Sections, Reflected Ceiling Plans and the like. [Court of Appeals-Ninth Division Case Number: CA-G.R. CV No. 93917 – Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Inc. and Leo Cleto Gamolo as Petitioners-Appellants, versus The Honorable Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., in his capacity as Secretary of Public Works and Highways as Respondent-Appellee, and United Architects of the Philippines as Intervenor-Appellee]


Last August 23, 2013, Republic Act 10609 or the Protection of Students' Right to Enroll in Review Centers Act of 2013 was signed into law. More info at GMA News Online


History of the Philippine Institute of Architects by Arch. Ernesto F. Zarate, FPIA
Philippine Panorama, Sunday Magazine of Manila Bulletin February 22, 2004 page 5

Kaya Ba Natin Ito??? An Article by Former President Fidel V. Ramos
Manila Bulletin, April 28, 2013

Early Architecture in the Philippines

History of the United Architects of the Philippines –

History of the Department of Public Works and Highways –

History/Milestones of the Department of Transportation and Communications –

History of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System –

History of Civil Engineering in University of Santo Tomas –

History of College of Engineering in University of the Philippines – Diliman –

History of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Inc. –

History of the Board of Civil Engineering –

History of the Highlights of the Philippine National Railways –

History of the Philippine Ports Authority –

History of the Manila International Airport Authority –

History of the Light Railway Transit Authority –

National Culture and the Arts –

Local Water Utilities Administration -

The Online Magazine of the National Irrigation Administration Regional Office VI –

Discovering Philippines – Spanish Archives (Discovering Philippines Copyright © 2004 Robert S. Gardner) –

Wikipedia –

Fajardo, Max Jr. B. Elements of Roads and Highways Second Edition. Quezon City: 5138 Merchandising. 2002

Quarterly Bulletin, Bureau of Public Works, Manila, 1913.

1 comment:

  1. The Civil Engineering History of the Philippines was indeed very rich. I hope that top engineering schools in the country will continue to achieve new heights!