Bohol Gov. Edgar M. Chatto has demanded due action from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on a damaged national road causing public outcry and an abandoned bridge project endangering the life.
The road—fronting the Bureau of Equipment and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Salvador, Cortes—has worsened since the December storms sustained by January rains.
The unfinished bridge, including its approaches, in Matina-o, Sierra-Bullones has risked the lives of the residents and passers in the area where flash flood is usual.
After calling their attention, the governor was assured by the DPWH officials led by Reg’l. Dir. Ador Canlas to rehabilitate the road immediately even if it is just a temporary solution.
Also in front of the local media, Canlas set a self-imposed deadline for road repair in 20 days, providing, though, that the weather cooperates.
The road has been undergoing reconstruction after it was affected by the strong earthquake in 2013 and to be elevated as it has been observed settling.
Canlas told Chatto the original contract of the bridge project, which then cost over P16 million, was already terminated by default and will be awarded to a new contractor.
The highways official identified the original contractor as the WERR Construction, which will be blacklisted from participating in any bidding and doing any project in Bohol.
The construction of the bridge and its approaches would have been fully completed in 10 months from January to October in 2016.
Pictures of the project site taken last year and recently all show no bridge structure but raging floodwater over the area.
As soon as he learned last year of the despicable status of the bridge project, Chatto raised it to the higher DPWH.
Both the abandoned Sierra Bullones bridge and bad Cortes national road works have been implemented and supervised by the regional DPWH.
But the DPWH First and Third Engineering Districts in Bohol led by Engr. De Francis Antonio Flores and Engr. Aramis Torrefranca, respectively, just the same owed the Boholanos proper explanation.
Last Tuesday, the DPWH regional director personally met with Chatto at the Governor’s Mansion after also personally inspecting the Cortes road.
Canlas met in Cebu City a day earlier the road project contractor in response to the governor’s call to address the urgent concern.
As soon as Chatto intervened, the DPWH had its men and equipment mobilized, scraping off the muddy road soil and installed new base materials to lighten the discomfort of the traveling public.
Canlas explained to Chatto that “due to the continuous rain since December, the base course of the road could not be thoroughly finalized.”
“The base course would have been the preparation for the paving works of PCCP. But because of the frequent rain occurrences, the base course has become muddy,” the highways director stressed.
The DPWH uses the acronym PCCP for “Portland cement concrete pavement.”
Canlas pledged that as soon as the good weather permits, paving works will commence finalizing the works on the severely affected section.
Apart from elevating the road, a new Bacong bridge structure along the said national highway will also be built.
In addition to the initial past allocation, Rep. Rene Relampagos said about P170 million has been included in the 2018 budget for the road and bridge works in Cortes.
Chatto raised to the regional DPWH the Sierra-Bullones problem even without anyone first raising it to his office.
“As long as we are informed, we do not need to wait for complaints in raising concerns to the proper authorities concerned,” the governor said.
While the project was contracted to be finished in 2016 but not completed until now, the inconvenience suffered by the people is aggravated by the flooding in the area, Chatto lamented to the DPWH officials.
The contractor, WERR Construction, has been recommended for blacklisting.
The project was terminated by default because the contractor incurred a huge negative slippage.
“We have rebid it out and recommended for a change of creditor for approval by the DPWH secretary,’ Canlas told the governor.
Once the request is approved, the project will be awarded to the new contractor, identified by the DPWH-7 chief as the A.C. Construction.
Canlas thanked Chatto for calling their attention.
Chatto did not stop sending text messages to Canlas even while the latter was still in Manila.
The governor fully appreciated the DPWH official’s concern for the Boholanos. (Ven C. Arigo)