CEBU

Espinoza: Probe DPWH

Free zone

SO, THE cat is out of the bag. The cause of the waist-deep rainwater in Baranagy Mambaling, Cebu City and its neighboring barangays when tropical storm Liwayway hit the country on Sept. 3 was the lack of drainage when the underpass in Mambaling was constructed. No less than underpass project engineer Roy de la Cruz of the Department of Public Works and Highways DPWH) admitted this before the press.

That the (DPWH proceeded with the work on the underpass even before the road-right-of-way could be acquired from the landowners and without working on the drainage system is simply unacceptable. This only shows that DPWH, which has the responsibility over the project, failed to perform its job.

In an interview, dela Cruz said: “Supposed to be, we have a project for the widening to include the drainage system there, but there was a failure in bidding. So we just proceeded with the construction of the underpass.”

Because of the flooding in the Mambaling areas, the drainage system in the area will be improved at the cost of P18 million. This drainage system is perpendicular to the underpass in the area near Shopwise and it will carry the rainwater to Tagunol in Barangay Basak Pardo.

Imagine that if not for the waist-deep flooding in Mambaling when tropical storm Liwayway dropped barrels of rainwater, we would not have known that there was a P15 million budget, a component of the underpass project for road widening and drainage system.

Just because there was a failure in the bidding of the P15 million road widening and drainage system project, the DPWH proceeded with the construction of the underpass, which also resulted in unbearable traffic congestion. And now, during these rainy months, Mambaling and the surrounding areas will always be under rainwater.

Is this how the DPWH performs even under the Duterte administration? Many were of the belief that under President Rodrigo Duterte, whose campaign against corruption in government is rigid, that DPWH, identified as one of the agencies in government that is graft-ridden, would be reformed, especially since Secretary Mark Villar, a billionaire, is at its helm.

Perhaps, politics could be the other reason behind that DPWH was obliged to proceed with the underpass construction even if the road-widening, which should have been done first to avoid traffic gridlock in the area, could not be implemented due to the problem in the road-right-of-way acquisition.

The DPWH officials then did not even bother to listen to the complaints of the motorists and the riding public when travel in this part of Cebu City would take hours because of the traffic gridlock that the construction of the underpass brought. What was even disgusting was that then DPWH officials pointed the blame to the Cebu City Government for its alleged failure to provide alternative routes.

Mr. Ombudsman, with the failure of the DPWH to implement first the road-widening and the drainage system before proceeding with the underpass project, would not your honorable office conduct an investigation? Let us not wait for another storm to come and the areas in Mambaling to again be flooded.


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