DPWH hit over ‘ampao’ project-A A +A
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Concerned businessmen and residents here are appalled and in an uproar over the newly constructed slope protection along the stretch of Del Carmen Creek, also known as Balimbing Creek located in the vicinity of the prime business district along Jose Abad Santos Avenue in this city, which has collapsed under normal conditions.
Recently, some 40 meters of the slope protection -- allegedly substandard and branded as "ampao" by stakeholders -- collapsed even as there were no heavy downpours or strong current in the creek.
According to Sun.Star Pampanga sources, the slope protection was constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways-First Engineering District contractor Rommel M. Vitug (RM Vitug) Construction -- which reportedly subcontracted the project to one Rolly Beltran.
"We are appalled that this slope protection built just about two months ago would collapse under normal conditions. What would have happened if conditions were otherwise? What is happening in Pampanga and taxpayers' money with such seemingly 'ampao' or substandard projects? Have they become sources of corruption?" the stakeholders stressed.
The P10-million, 160-meter package portion of the slope protection -- which is now considered a threat to business establishments in the area and nearby residential communities, added stakeholders -- now puts the integrity of the whole stretch of the infrastructure in question.
"It was fortunate that no real big damage to nearby improvements and business establishments was inflicted by the collapse of that slope protection. Still, there is a need for an explanation to the cause of the scouring since it puts the whole infrastructure in question," said Engr. RJ Estacio of the Laus Group Engineering Department.
He said that since the collapsed portion was located at the back of a giant retail warehouse, it was only discovered a couple of days ago when they were conducting an inspection of Laus Group properties in the area.
"In fact, when this slope protection was constructed there was no water in the creek. And there has been no big volume of water that passed through recently. With ordinary water flow, it will not easily give way. But the damage now to the slope protection would speak for itself," Estacio noted.
As this developed, the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. has called on the public works department to explain the nature of the collapse and asked the local government to conduct an investigation.
Governor Lilia Pineda, who got wind of the reported collapse on Wednesday, directed the Provincial Board to conduct an inquiry on the DPWH project.
"I have asked the vice governor to conduct an inquiry and investigate the collapse as well details of the whole project," she told Sun.Star Pampanga.
The Provincial Board headed by Vice Governor Dennis Pineda has set the inquiry this Friday during the regular session, where officials of the DPWH and the contractor have been summoned to appear.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 24, 2013.