DPWH investigates ‘non-existent’ bridge

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


CEBU - Residents in Tuburan, Cebu said the contractor of the P35.4-million Suba bridge is still building the riprap, contrary to claims that the project is almost completed.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 sent an investigating team to Tuburan to verify the accusation of Mayor Democrito Diamante that the Suba bridge project is far from being completed.

Sun.Star Cebu visited Tuburan yesterday to interview residents about the project.

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Celso Diamante, 70, said he was paid P160,000 last April to demolish his house to make way for the construction of the bridge’s approach. “Wa pa ka tokod og beam, wa pa gani ka porma (But they have not even put up the beams),” he added.

Linda Osorio, 62, who lived beside the old Suba bridge said workers have not completed the riprap walls for the approaches of the new bridge.

Riprap

Couple Agustin and Lilia Sabio, both 77, workers of contractor WTG Construction only started work on the riprap walls last April. The couple received P490,000 from the DPWH to demolish their house, located a few meters from the riprap walls.

Diamante earlier said WTG Construction got 76 percent of the payment for the project even though the new bridge is nowhere near completion.

DPWH 7 is funding the construction of a new bridge, beside the old structure that connects Barangays Daanglungsod and Uno in Tuburan.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office inspector Aszac Solinos said sand and gravel for the riprap walls cannot be the cause of project’s delay because these are sourced from Tuburan and Balamban. Solinos inspects cargo trucks that passed through the bridge.

Ronnie Sabio, 53, said he was hired by DPWH to guard the site. He said concrete girders, or support beams for the bridge, were done before the demolition of the affected houses.

Girders

The girders have yet to be installed.

Arnel Cellar, head of the DPWH road-right-of-way division, said change of administration at the Capitol affected the progress of the project. He said the expropriation process was stalled because the composition of the appraisal committee differed from the administration of then governor Gwendolyn Garcia to then acting governor Agnes Magpale and finally, under Gov. Hilario Davide III.

The appraisal committee assessed property values, which is needed by DPWH for expropriation proceedings.

Cellar said property appraisals were obtained only in the last quarter of 2013 and these were forwarded to DPWH 7 for processing.

Payment to affected landowners was approved last February.

Last April, Mayor Diamante helped DPWH convince 14 families to voluntarily demolish their houses within the project site, said Tuburan public information officer Manuel Montebon.

DPWH planning and design section chief Pastor Quiles Jr. told Sun.Star Cebu that in two weeks the embankments for the main bridge column will be ready. Two months after that, the bridge structure will rise, he added.

DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said he will issue a statement about the project once he has the report of the investigation team.

He said he did not authorize DPWH 7 public information officer Marie Mignon Nillama to issue a statement in response to Mayor Diamante’s allegation.

Nillama had denied Diamante's allegation.

Mayor Diamante said he knows what he is talking about because he lives in Tuburan.

Willy Go of WTG Construction could not be reached for comment at press time.

Mayor Diamante said he wants to submit evidence about the bridge project to Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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