City councilors on Monday called out a major private contractor of government infrastructure projects, Ivy Michelle Trading and Construction, for allegedly snubbing their invitation for the local legislators’ Question Hour.
Ivy Michelle had been invited to the regular session on May 31 to shed light on the alleged destruction of street lights on portions of the national highway where expansion works were being undertaken.
Councilor Roy Ventura accused Ivy Michelle Trading and Construction of deliberately snubbing their invitation and instead letting its subcontractors explain to the Council.
“Sila (Ivy Michelle Construction) ang kailangan dito. Kawawa naman ang mga subcontractor kasi sila ang nadidiin. Bakit iisang contractor lang ang nananalo? Imposibleng walang kakayanan ang mga subcon. Anong mayroon ka na wala ang mga subcontractor ng Puerto Princesa City at Palawan? Sagutin ninyo ‘yan Ivy Michelle,” a visibly irked Ventura said.
The other contractors and subcontractors were identified as RAK Trading, Marcelo Builders, RS Tagala Construction, Universal Basalt Aggregates Corp., Hardrock Platinum, and BCT Construction.
Earlier, Ventura accused the private contractors of deliberately damaging or destroying the city government’s street lighting project while undertaking road widening of the national highway.
“Sinira nila ang mga wirings [ng mga street lights]. Nai-turn over na ito ng gumawang contractor na GSMAXX kaya nagtataka din ako kung concern ba nga sila dito? Kung may coordination ba ito sa city engineering? Kasi milyon-milyon ang ginagastos dyan ng mamamayan, baka its time to review na,” Ventura said.
He also lashed out at the City Engineering Office (CEO) for failing to address the problem.
“Lahat ng kailangan ninyo binibigay ng city, pero bakit hindi niyo matingnan ito? Hindi naman lahat, pero may iba dyan. Baka puwedeng umuwi na lang kayo sa mga bahay ninyo,” he added.
The Council also passed Monday, May 31, a resolution urging Mayor Lucilo Bayron to blacklist contractors of the 3rd Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that had damaged street lights in major roads in Puerto Princesa.
The City Legal Office (CLO) was also told to investigate the damages they caused to the street lights, as well as the “filing of appropriate criminal, civil, and administrative actions”.
The City Council also urged the City Engineering Office (CEO) and the DPWH 3rd Engineering District to conduct ocular inspections to validate if the city government is compliant with the National Highway Standard and National Electrical Standards.
A letter request to the Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) regarding the damages to its water pipeline due to infrastructure projects, list of contractors with defective infrastructure projects, and inquiry on the tree-cutting permit status of the city government will be also be sent to respective offices.
Engr. Roly So, representative of the CEO, said that they are yet to determine the warranty of the streetlights.
“‘Yon din po ang medyo hindi namin alam pa kung saan pasok ang warranty ng streetlights kasi mayroong project na horizontal at vertical pero ang streetlights kasi di namin ma-identify,” he said.
Engineering district officer Engr. Arthur Torillo said that based on the guidelines, streetlights should be placed 10 meters away from the centerline of the road which was not followed in some projects within the city.
He said that they have already coordinated with the city government following the inspection they previously conducted.
“Dapat ang mga poste ay nakalagay 10 meters away from the centerline of the road. Ang problema noong minsan nag-inspection kami ay malapit masyado ang mga poste kaya ang problema kapag may project ay affected. Nakipag-coordinate na rin kami pati city,” Torillo said.
He noted that all affected structures should be repaired by assigned contractors.
“Lahat ng affected ay responsibility ng contractor na ayusin. Sinabihan na namin sila na mag-ingat dahil sa dami ng projects na ginagawa natin. Sinira nila ang ibang manhole at cover ng kanal ay binasag din nila. [Mayroon na kaming] demand letter na palitan nila lahat ng sinira nilang properties,” he said.
Councilor Elgin Damasco also said the city government should impose strict sanctions against the erring contractors, while Councilor Jimbo Maristela asked for an ocular inspection to verify if the [electric] posts of the city government are beyond the 10 meters set by DPWH
“Kailangan na talagang masampulan ang mga contractor na ito. Parang pinapabayaan lang natin, sayang ang pera ng taumbayan,” Damasco said.
Michelle Leong, representative of RS Tagala Construction that is also a subcontractor of Ivy Michelle Trading and Construction in the road widening project, said that the post and the wirings of the street lights were not properly located.
“Noong tiningnan din po namin ay wala po sa standard na sukat na 10 meters from center hanggang doon sa streetlight. Napansin din namin na ang wire [ng streetlights] ay wala rin po sa standard, masyadong mababa [mababaw]. Kahit hindi namin sinasadya ay [tinatamaan] talaga ng backhoe,” Leong said.