April 22, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong requested the city council to conduct an inquiry into an ongoing multi-million project near the Lion’s Head along Kennon Road which he said was implemented without any consultation with the city government, affected barangay, and other stakeholders.

“I am urgently asking the city council to immediately conduct a hearing on this project for us to be enlightened on the safety status of the construction.  We also want to be apprised on the details of the project as to who are responsible, what was the intent and why was there no consultation with the local government or with the stakeholders before the implementation,” the mayor said.

“Please treat this request with urgency considering that this involves public safety.  It is concerning that they have shifted from merely installing rock netting to building shotcrete. It is about time that we ask as we were never informed or consulted about this project being built on a public lot within our jurisdiction,” he added.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the city government wants to get assurance that the project underwent the required quality tests of materials including backfill to ensure the safety of the constructions.

“If they can show test results that will prove that the project has no safety issues and the city has nothing to worry about, then that will be a relief,” he said.

He suggested that the city council invite not only the Department of Public Works and Highways and the contractor but also experts from the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE); the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, Inc. (ASEP); and Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

It will be recalled that in June this year, the city council approved Resolution 354-2023 requesting the Baguio City District Engineering Office, DPWH-Cordillera, MGB-Cordillera, Environmental Management Bureau, and the City Engineering Office to conduct a joint inspection on the project entitled “Rehablitation/reconstruction of national roads with slips, slope collapse and landslide-primary roads-Kennon Road” to submit their findings including the design and all necessary data to the city council for information and appropriate legislative action.

The action stemmed from the concerns raised on the “alleged unstable ground and slope protection included in the project being implemented by the DPWH-Cordillera near the Lion’s Head” and the investigation report of the City Engineering Office also conducted in June after receiving a call from a concerned citizen regarding the project.

In July, the city council passed Resolution 446-2023 requesting the PICE and the ASEP to evaluate the structural integrity of the ongoing parking facility project and Resolution 445-2023 asking the Commission on Audit-Cordillera to conduct a technical inspection/evaluation on the said project worth P118 million.

City Council Assistant Secretary Dan Ricky Ong informed the mayor that no feedback had so far been received on said approved resolutions.

“The more reason for us to conduct that inquiry now so that we will not be kept in the dark on its goings on especially since it is a big project implemented without consultation with the local government, the barangay or the DENR and because again, it concerns public safety,” the mayor reiterated. – Aileen P. Refuerzo