Worker lack delays Davao bridge fix

Subscribe Now September 05, 2014 at 08:27am

Equipment, including brand new ones, being used for the rehabilitation of the city's 67-year-old Bankerohan Bridge reportedly kept malfunctioning, prompting the contractor to call in a Catholic priest to "exorcise" the structure.

The contractor believes that “some kind of sorcery” has caused the delay in the project, which is supposed to be due for completion within this month or next, Engineer Mariano R. Alquiza, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional director, said.

“I don’t know if you will believe it, but hopefully after the blessings the repair of the bridge will move along unhindered,” Mr. Alquiza said.

Cursed or not, the bridge’s rehabilitation has been delayed because only a handful of workers have been assigned by the contractor, which Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte himself witnessed last Sunday.

As a result, the mayor was prompted to introduce a shift in local policy for the city’s infrastructure projects.

“Any contract whether from the public or private sector will not be allowed to begin any project without a Mayor’s Permit and without informing my office about the completion time,” Mr. Duterte said.

Repair was also delayed because of the unexpected difficulty in pulling out some old concrete piles that are entrenched on the riverbed and informal settlers living under the bridge.

Cebu-based Oscar Sarmiento Construction was awarded the Bankerohan rehabilitation project, which is being implemented under the Department’s Disaster-Related Rehabilitation Project.

Mr. Duterte has assigned Atty. Neil Dalumpines, one of the legal consultants of the city, to deal with the situation.

At the start of the rehabilitation work in April, Alvin C. Cabuenas of DPWH-11’s maintenance division said that the scheduled project completion -- anywhere from five to six months -- could even be shortened with round-the-clock work.

Early this week, Mr. Alquiza said the project, which has a 69 percent accomplishment rate, is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Bankerohan Bridge is at a central location and serves as one of the three major links between the north and southern sides of Davao City.

The P63-million bridge rehabilitation project was first started in November 29, 2013 but had to be put on hold for several months due to refusal of more than 100 informal settlers who built shanties under the bridge.

Alongside the rehabilitation, the Davao City Water District is also working on a main pipe that runs parallel to the bridge.


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