After Duterte discourse in Bohol Villar vows to finish infra projects
Ric V. Obedencio (The Freeman) - July 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MARIBOJOC, BOHOL, Philippines —  Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar has assured Boholanos of completing the delayed construction of main bridges in the towns of Buenavista, Loay and Maribojoc, a week after President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Bohol earlier, ordered the secretary to explain the delays.

Villar, who flew into Bohol immediately after the Duterte visit, also promised to the Boholanos that he will address the questioned road reblocking in different towns of Bohol that caused untold inconvenience and public uproar.

“You have my assurance na ayusin namin yan,” he told the local media during an instant press conference held beside the still unfinished Anislag Bridge in Maribojoc, in the presence of Mayor Gumersindo “Mer” Arocha, Governor Edgar Chatto, Representatives Rene Relampagos (1st district) and Arthur Yap (3rd district) and DPWH officials.

Duterte made true of his promise to dispatch Villar to Bohol to explain about the problem because the public deserve to know.

The president said: “I will ask DPWH Secretary Villar to come over and explain to the people para ma... Anyway, it's the people's money. So they should... They deserve rather an explanation from the government.”

Duterte’s discourse was delivered when he was the keynote speaker of the 25th national convention of the Vice-Mayors’ League of Philippines (VMLP), hosted by Bohol and held in Panglao on June 28.

On the question of having no information from district offices of DPWH in the province about these projects, Villar ordered the district engineers to provide information and even technical aspects of the projects to the people and the media.

He also ordered DPWH-7 Regional Director Ador Canlas to provide billboards with complete data of the projects. Some billboards are very visible but these lack information, such as cost of the project, and with some erasures or tampering or changes on the target date of completion, contrary to the Commission on Audit’s directive.

The DPWH district engineers, during the presscon, said the re-blocking in some parts of the national highways is carried for the so-called “asset preservation,” considering that some of the highways’ foundations were badly affected after the October 15, 2013 earthquake.

Some bridge, not only are affected by the tremor, are already 50 years old or over, they said. Some roads, such as in the coastal barangay of San Roque in Baclayon town, are being repaired by asphalt overlaying to improve quality in accordance with the international standard, they added.

Canlas told the media that contract work for the Makapiko Bridge — between Batuan and Balilihan towns — were terminated for lack of funds. But it would soon be rebid, and works on its approaches will be done on the second week of October this year, he said.

Meanwhile, DPWH data showed that bridges construction at Barangay Anislag in Maribojoc, and at Barangays Palo and Hinawanan in Loay have a total cost of P139,346,590.

The Anislag Bridge — set to be completed on October 7 — is 74.20 percent done, with its approaches 61.84 percent. Hinawanan Bridge — for completion on August 21 — is 92.14 percent done with its approaches, 68.27 percent, while Palo Bridge — to be completed on August 14 — is 91.86 percent done with its approaches, 72.35 percent.

Other bridges, undergoing works, are in Dimiao and Buenavista towns, which cost P95.13 million, DPWH-7 said. The construction of these bridges by MacBuilders started sometime in July 2016 but remained unfinished last year and the timetable extended to this year, covering more than 830 days of work, under the revised plan or schedule.

MARK VILLAR
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