YEAR 2015 has ended but the Cebu City Government still has more than P2.5 billion worth of big-ticket projects that remain unimplemented.
The biggest, and perhaps the most important, is the P1.5 billion worth of drainage systems, already funded in the 2015 annual budget.
Road concreting projects worth at least P600 million also have not been implemented yet, but it will start soon as the notice to proceed has already been issued to the contractors.
In an interview, Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) Chief Engr. Jose Marie Poblete said he did not touch the fund because he wants a study to be conducted first, particularly on how to go about channel improvement or widening or dredging of canals and other waterways in the city.
“I purposely did not touch it because it needs a thorough study which we do not currently have any budget for. I am planning to ask the City Council to authorize us to use a portion of the budget for the study, but it has not been finalized yet,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Poblete wants to improve the channels in the city because they are the outfall of the drainage systems from the different villages.
“We have already implemented a lot of drainage projects, yet despite the millions spent, flooding continues because during heavy rains, the water in the canals is higher than the drainage lines so what happens is that there is a backflow of water,” he said.
Poblete said the channel improvement will require a study and a lot of work since the widening of waterways may affect houses and private establishments.
The city engineer said they are targeting to start the implementation of the project this year, which is why they did not ask for any budget for drainage projects in the 2016 annual budget.
Aside from drainage projects, DEPW also has yet to spend the P250 million for the improvement of the City’s social housing sites.
Poblete said the project was initiated by the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) and that the funds were just placed under DEPW’s account.
DWUP has yet to coordinate with them on the project.
The City has also not touched the P50 million allocated for the construction of a medium-rise residential building for urban poor families.
Poblete said the DEPW is already preparing the program of works and estimates (Powe) for it.
Another P50 million for the construction of a new building of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) also remains unspent, as well as the P17 million earmarked for the renovation of their firing range.
This is because CCPO has not submitted yet the building plan for their facilities.
“We cannot make plans for the CCPO building on our own. We don’t even know where it will be located. We cannot design it if we don’t have an idea on the shape of the lot. The police should coordinate with us,” Poblete said.
Another project that remains unimplemented is the conversion of Doña Pepang Cemetery into a heritage park, which has a budget of P30 million.
The City is still clearing of the structures surrounding the cemetery.
There is also P44 million in unused funds intended for the construction of a bridge that will connect the South Road Properties (SRP) to White Road in Barangay Inayawan.
Poblete said DEPW is already preparing the Powe for the project.
The project is part of suspended Mayor Michael Rama’s plan to construct five bridges that will link SRP to the city proper.
Aside from external factors that delay the implementation of funded projects, Poblete said it also doesn’t help that DEPW doesn’t have enough engineers to make the Powe.
At present, DEPW only has at least 30 engineers who handle and oversee both City-initiated projects and barangay projects.
Though there are projects that have yet to be implemented, Poblete said the City has also completed millions worth of projects.
These include the P200 million for drainage systems that were funded in the 2014 annual budget.