Council mulls fines, suit vs Ungka flyover contractor

(DG file photo)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

A member of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Iloilo City on Wednesday called to sue the contractor of the P680-million Ungka Flyover and to hand over the reins of the project back to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

City Councilor Johnny Young, who chairs the legislature’s infrastructure committee, filed a resolution urging the DPWH to expedite the stabilization and repairs at the flyover and to safely reopen it to vehicular traffic.

If passed, the resolution would be sent to the DPWH central and regional offices, as well as to Iloilo City Lone District Representative Julienne Baronda.

But a proposal was also raised to penalize and sue the contractor International Builders Corporation (IBC).

The proposal specifically urged the DPWH to fine IBC for liquidated damages because of the delay and damages to the public. DPWH can also take over the project to fix the problem and finish it already.

Young welcomed Nava’s suggestion, and the City Council is expected to tackle amendments to his resolution in their session on Dec 14.

The P680-million flyover, which was funded through the efforts of former Senator Franklin Drilon, was initially opened to the public on June 30.

It was fully opened by September 6, only to be closed again on September 18 after publicized complaints of “sinking” and bumps on the flyover’s roadway, as well as recorded flooding at the top of the structure.

DPWH Sec. Manuel Bonoan has sent a geo-technical team “to determine [material] under the rocks, [conduct] soil analysis,” and an audit team to monitor the progress of the flyover.

Representative Michael Gorriceta (Iloilo-2nd) said they also hired third-party experts to study the structural design closely with the DPWH officials.

The agency is eyeing to open the structure to the public in the third week of January.

“After the arrival and inspection of the technical personnel, they will make a report [directly to Bonoan] and that would be the time that [the DPWH] will make an official statement and report in relation to the Ungka Flyover,” Gorriceta said.

He also clarified that the actions of Bonoan were apart from the engineering interventions already announced by the DPWH-6, including jet grouting and shoring.

“There have been remedial and temporary measures [by the DPWH-6], but what Secretary Bonoan has been going after are permanent solutions, that is why they cannot make it in time this December,” he said.

Gorriceta said that the timeframe would ultimately depend on the reports made directly to Bonoan by their contracted teams.