GUAGUA Mayor Ricardo Rivera said Monday the P183-million Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica)-funded project in his town is still underway and construction has not been put on hold.

The project includes road elevation upgrading, bridge and diversion channel construction, and upgrading roads along the business district of the town stretching from the Poblacion area all the way to the public market.

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Rivera said the ongoing project is encountering difficulty on residential encroachment and relocating electric and telephone service lines that are within the pathway of the ongoing constructions.

“The project has not been put on hold. In fact, it is currently on-going and we are just helping with the problem of encroachment. It is not delayed as claimed by some detractors and has not been put on hold. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is just looking for the approved contract but the project would not be put on hold,” Rivera assured Sun.Star Pampanga.

DPWH Regional Director Alfredo Tolentino on Monday said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has not ordered the cancellation of the projects earlier.

Tolentino’s claim runs contrary to Singson’s statement a few weeks ago that 19 foreign-funded flood control projects , which includes the current Guagua project of the previous administration, worth some P934 million, were cancelled due to questionable date of negotiations.

Currently, the project is at a 90 percent completion with only the bridge elevation still waiting to be implemented. But Rivera said he was assured by the contractor that the project would continue despite the recent issue over the project.

Rivera also defended himself from detractors who have been casting doubts over the project. It was posted in some accounts in the social-networking sites of Facebook that the project has encountered funding problems and that it would not be finished within the year.

“The project is not under the Municipal Government’s control. In fact, our participation on the project is limited to fixing the traffic conditions along the areas affected and helping the DPWH and the contractor with issues on the encroachment of some establishments and houses along projects paths,” Rivera said.

Rivera said they are coordinating closely with the DPWH on the progress of the said Jica-funded project. (Ian Ocampo Flora)