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Monday, December 06, 2021

Vote wisely, see work done

BLAME your public officials if government infrastructure projects in Cebu are delayed. And if they’re running on May 9, don’t vote for them.

This was how Secretary Rogelio Singson of the Department of Public Works and Highways summed up the situation DPWH finds itself in implementing infra projects during the Bottoms-up Budgeting (BuB) consultation held in Cebu City yesterday.

He said bickering among politicians in Cebu has caused delays in the executing infra projects here. He advised voters not to put back in public office these “palaaway” or quarrelsome officials.

In Tagalog, he said that whatever project one party wants, the rival party opposes it, giving DPWH a hard time to implement a project.



Singson did not name the politicians and the projects that have been delayed due to political squabbling, but he said this is enough reason for voters to choose the right leaders.

Vote wisely and you will see your public-funded projects done, the DPWH chief said.

Singson, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad attended the launching of “BuB Beyond 2016” and the Batas Pantawid Coalition at the Cebu Grand Hotel yesterday.

The launching was attended by local and barangay officials, civil society organizations, people’s organizations, and Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

Projects

In 2012, DPWH was supposed to build a flyover worth about P400 million in Barangay Lahug in Cebu City.

Former mayor Tomas Osmeña said then that he managed to ask DPWH for the funds when he was congressman. But since Mayor Michael Rama opposed the project, the funds were diverted for the widening of the national highway in Cebu’s first district.

A year later, some P127 million worth of infrastructure projects in Cebu City were also delayed because City Hall did not agree with the identified projects, saying these only duplicated the projects initiated by the City.

During his speech yesterday, Singson mentioned a situation in Negros where a highway project was not implemented because two politicians could not agree on what to name the highway and whom to credit it to.

Singson also cited Iloilo Province as an example to show what government can do if the leaders were united.

Because the Iloilo officials had one vision, DPWH had an easy time to work on infrastructure projects, he said.

One example was the City’s 10-lane road for vehicles with an “esplanade” beside the Iloilo River.

Mactan bridge

As for the rehabilitation of the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge, Singson said DPWH has delayed the repair until summer when classes end to minimize its impact on traffic.

He assured motorists and passengers that DPWH will notify the public in advance, before the actual repair of the bridge starts.

For now, the repair will be confined to the sidewalk of the bridge.

Jegma Construction has not yet repaired the deck slab because they are awaiting the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to strengthen the support for their water pipeline.

The P129-million bridge rehabilitation project is being implemented by the DPWH.

DPWH 7 Regional Director Ador Canlas, who was with Singson yesterday, is meeting stakeholders to get their feedback.

The stakeholders are the business group, hotel owners, transport groups using the bridge, utility firms and shipping companies.

At the Capitol, Gov. Hilario Davide III will also convene the Mactan Cebu Bridge Management Board today.

Bridge families

Meanwhile, the Mandaue City Government said yesterday that it has no relocation site for the families that will be affected by the demolition under the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge.

Jegma Construction, the contractor of the rehabilitation of the first bridge, identified at least 33 structure owners who need to move out because of the risk of getting hit by falling debris.

Housing and Urban Development Office head Tony Pet Juanico said they will wait for the DPWH’s response to the request for financial aid for the structure owners.

DPWH earlier said that structures under the bridge in the Mandaue side should be demolished.

Financial aid

In a meeting Wednesday, DPWH 7 officials told city officials that they still need to consult their central office about the financial help.

Juanico said the families living under the bridge are those who did not avail themselves of the relocation site of the City in Paknaan when they conducted a census.

They had found out that only one of the affected families signed up to transfer to the relocation site. So as not to delay the rehabilitation project, Juanico asked Jegma Construction to give him a timeline so that the project will not be jeopardized.

Juanico and DPWH 7 officials will inspect the area under the bridge to check on the families.

Also yesterday, MCWD information officer Minerva Gerodias said they will submit their second proposal on the rehabilitation of the water pipeline support to DPWH 7 today.
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