Developer urged to halt housing project in Gibraltar

IN THE meeting of Baguio City officials, Department of Public Works and Highways, and representatives from Suntrust Properties Inc., Mayor Mauricio Domogan urged the land developer to temporarily cease its construction to determine the cause of the collapse of the road in Gibraltar.

Domogan, during his weekly press forum said the work stoppage of Suntrust will allow a fair investigation of how the road collapsed which was blamed to the land developer.

READ: Baguio residents in fear of landslide, oppose to condo expansion

Megaworld’s Suntrust was directly blamed for the collapsed portion of Gibraltar road but lawyer Harry Paltongan, president of the Andrew Tan–owned property development firm challenged the City Government and the public works department to verify other drainage system works earlier made by a private contractor because dangers of similar magnitude like in Gibraltar might happen "to inconvenience and pose hazards to the people of Baguio City."

“The absence of collars of installed concrete drainage pipes and lack of proper bedding caused the collapse of a portion of Gibraltar road and not their development work in the area,” explained Paltongan.

More than two weeks ago, officials of Suntrust explained to the Baguio City Council what caused the cave-in and clearly pointed out the installed concrete drainage pipes lacked collars and bedding that stabilize such.

Read: Gibraltar road to close

Only last week, a multi-partite meeting including Suntrust agreed to rehabilitate the damaged portion at Gibraltar to alleviate the situation.

While Domogan censured parties in the woe against blaming each other, Paltongan said he would like to point out things in proper order on the problem.

Suntrust Properties, currently pitching foundations for its condominium complex in the area said, it had been blamed for something not their own making.

“We’ve complained about the seeping water lines since last year,” Paltongan said.

The DPWH earlier argued Suntrust Properties miscalculated the scale and height of its excavation work below the road leading to the collapse, further saying seepage of water caused by the alleged faulty pipes is not enough to bring down the entire foundations of the road.

To alleviate the problem, Paltongan said, they have instituted shotcreting to stabilize the slope at no cost to the government even reiterating that the seeping water from the uncollared and without bedding concrete water drainage lines have saturated the soil leading to cave-ins for three times already since last year below the road system. (Roderick Osis)
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