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DPWH executive vows: Camanava flood project completed next month

MANILA, Philippines - The director of the multibillion-peso Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) flood control project said yesterday the project will be finished by next month and that she is open to investigation over the much-delayed project and is willing to face charges if the results found her liable for the setback.

Engineer Carla Bartolo said that “everything about the undertaking” is documented and is open for scrutiny as she even assured residents that the P4-billion project would be finished as scheduled next month.

“Only two percent of the project remains under construction and our contractor is fasttracking the work for the scheduled completion on Sept. 15,” Bartolo told The STAR.

Bartolo said she already met with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson Thursday for the project briefing and she already provided her boss with necessary documents about the project.

“I am just doing my job, but if they think something is improper I am open for investigation,” Bartolo said.

Asked about the warning by the affected local government units that they would file charges against her for the long overdue project completion, Bartolo said the contractor should be the one charged, “but still I am willing to face their accusations.”

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She said there are at least four major factors that caused delays in the completion of the project, touted as the ultimate solution in the perennial flood problem in Camanava.

“The clearing of the right of way, the expropriation of affected lots, relocation of Maynilad main pipes and the transfer of Meralco (Manila Electric Co.) posts took much time to accomplish,” Bartolo said.

She said the P3.5-billion loan to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had been spent for the main components of the project while the P500 million funded by the DPWH is being spent for the remaining 12 percent of the flood control project.

“The actual project price of P3.5 billion was based on the 2000 plan but because time passed by, many changes occurred in the project landscape and material prices also increased, so we requested an additional P500 million more, which was approved by the DPWH’s bureau of construction in 2007,” Bartolo said.

Malabon City Rep. Jaye Lacson-Noel, however, is not convinced by Bartolo’s explanation and will instead initiate, in cooperation with other congressmen in Camanava, an investigation into how the DPWH spent their funding for the flood control project.

“They kept on postponing the project’s completion, which is causing much suffering to my constituents. Now they would say they will have it finished on September. What year?” Noel asked.

Construction for the flood control project started in June 2003 and was scheduled for completion in June 2007. Three more years had passed, but the project has yet to be finished.

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