Officials slam DEPW, contractor over delay in drainage project

Cebu City map.
Cebu City map.

CITY and barangay officials have criticized the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) and a private contractor for delays in a 200-meter drainage project in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, which remains unfinished after over a year.

Despite starting construction in February 2023, the City Government’s drainage project at Emerald St. and Diamond Road near Sta. Teresita Village in Tisa only has a completion rate of 30 percent as of May 2024.

The delay has caused significant inconvenience to nearby residents, rendering the road impassable due to water accumulation, according to a concerned individual who wrote to SunStar Cebu.

In an interview over SunStar’s commentary program “Beyond the Headlines” on Thursday, May 9, 2024, Tisa Barangay Captain Bernardo Lapiña Jr. said the contractor encountered an unexpected setback, including a lack of manpower and challenges with the soil quality, that resulted in the project’s delay.

He said the road was a waterway when he was still young; it became a road due to the development in the area.

“It used to be a water channel there because, on the right side, there’s a spring where we used to play and swim when we were young,” Lapiña said in Cebuano.

In a separate interview, City Councilor Phillip Zafra expressed dismay at the slow progress of the project, saying that while there was a suggestion to cancel the contract, it was not pursued due to fears of further delays.

“I am as frustrated as the people living there,” Zafra said.

Lapiña said that, upon his investigation, one of the project workers told him they lacked the manpower to finish the project.

He then summoned the project’s contractor, along with a representative from DEPW, to a barangay session.

The contractor then explained that the delay was caused by the soft soil characteristic of the road where the ongoing project is situated.

Lapiña added that the contractor told them that every time they excavate a portion of the road, it would result in the collapse of a portion of the establishment and houses adjacent to the road, which poses safety risks to residents.

To avoid damaging the nearby establishments and houses, the contractor has to install reinforcement measures to support the soil during excavation, which was not part of the original plan.

He added that the project was supposed to be completed before the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election filing in 2023, which was Councilor Zafra’s ultimatum to the contractor.

This year, Lapiña said the contractor has promised once again to finish the project by October. / EHP

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