September 28, 2023

This refers to the front page photo of a landslide that occurred along Kennon Road at Camp 6, Tuba, Benguet published in the June 11, 2023 issue of the Midland Courier.
In the initial slope collapse, the Department of Public Works and Highway-Cordillera said it is not the continuous rains that caused the road section to collapse but a “tunnel” in the slope that caused it.
In a letter dated Nov. 10, 2022 signed by DPWH Usec. Maximo Carvajal it explicitly stated:
“The conduct of engineering surveys and geological/geotechnical investigation is required prior to the preparation of the design and plans and program of work, which is stipulated in the DPWH-Design Guidelines, criteria and standards. In this regard, the inspectorate team have found that the DPWH-Cordillera have complied with these requirements.”
If indeed the DPWH-Cordillera has conducted an engineering survey on the project which according to the agency is a “rockshed” like at the Badiwan section of the Palispis-Aspiras (Marcos) Highway, was the tunnel so small that DPWH engineers could not have seen it and proceeded with the project?
Compare the slope of the rockshed in Badiwan with that of that collapsed slope at Camp 6. It is pure baloney.
In fairness to the contractors of Kennon Road repair projects who only do what the DPWH-Cordillera says, the road has long been abused by the agency and its conspirators.
Over P30 billion was infused for the rehabi-litation of Kennon Road yet the road in the ‘70s and ‘80s is far much better than today. Trucks and buses used to navigate the road with ease. It was never closed for five years. Today, it has also lost its heritage value.
The ongoing project that collapsed can be attributed to the laziness of the concerned agency to conduct engineering surveys and geological/geotechnical investigation prior to the preparation of the design and plans and program of work.
The original road section was below that collapsed section, almost at level with the bridge. It was rerouted up when the mountain across had collapsed and the river water destroyed the original road more than 15 years ago. This brings us to the question as to why disturb a slope that reached its stability in the last 15 years?
Lastly, we have been imploring concerned agencies that the P500 million burnt rocknetting project at the Mt. Data cliff in Bauko, Mountain Province be used instead use to construct a rockshed.
Up to now, there are falling rocks, boulders and trees at that section of the Baguio-Bontoc Road and irrefutably, that burnt rocknetting cannot prevent these debris from falling endangering the public. — JUNIPER DOMINGUEZ, Sabangan, Mountain Province