Councilor slams slow works on flyovers, unresponsive DPWH

A member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Pavia, Iloilo is increasingly getting piqued by the slow works on the controversy laden Ungka and Aganan Flyovers and the virtual zero response from the Department of Public Works and Highways-Western Visayas office. Between the two flyovers, taxpayers have shelled out an excess of P1.790 billion for the construction and repairs of the inutile structures. (Francis Allan L. Angelo photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

A member of Pavia, Iloilo’s Sangguniang Bayan said on Friday that rectification works on the controversial Ungka Flyover have remained slow, while remaining works on the Aganan Flyover have yet to see the light of day.

Pavia town councilor Jose Ma. Trimañez, chairperson of their transportation committee, told Daily Guardian on Air Friday that the local legislature passed a resolution in March, calling on the Department of Public Works and Highways-Western Visayas (DPWH-WV) for updates on the Aganan Flyover.

The P802-million flyover, also located in their town, the completion of which has been stalled since the controversies on the two structures fell under the national spotlight.

While there have been workers tending to the flyover’s approaches, the councilor said that they still need answers to questions on the said structure.

“Until now, the DPWH-WV has not given us any advice as to when they could attend our session. What we just want to know is, what are the updates on the Aganan Flyover? Because, gosh, it has become a perversion to us,” Trimañez said.

He said that the DPWH regional office had presented a new recommendation on an amended design, using steel girders instead of the original concrete, citing fears of sinking foundations similar to that in Ungka.

“The original design was concrete, but it was too long, at around \[more than\] 50 meters. Maybe they realized that if they used that, it would also sink because it would be too heavy. I think they also shared feeling challenged by the equipment, on how they would transport the girders,” he narrated.

“Unfortunately, there has been no confirmation, that is why until now, there is no development, and that is why we will call on them, so they can update us, and [ultimately] we can update the public. We will also insert the Ungka Flyover there because we still have questions there too,” he added.

As to the Ungka Flyover, he said that six piers have undergone jet grouting since January and that retrofitting will begin only when all piers have finished jet grouting.

“There are three posts on the side of Iloilo City and three posts also on our side [which are eyed for rectification],” Trimañez explained.

The P680-million Ungka flyover, straddling the namesake barangays in the town and in neighboring Iloilo City originally opened on June 30, 2022, and became fully operational later in September of the same year.

But it had to be closed after a few days due to public concerns about its structural integrity citing flooding atop the structure, as well as “bumpy” and “wavy” feel by motorists.

Both design and development works of the Aganan and Ungka Flyovers were awarded to only one contractor each, the design being done by the Pasig City-based United Technologies Consolidated Partnership, while development was done by the Pavia-based International Builders Corporation.

A P13-million third-party investigation commissioned by the DPWH-WV in 2023 confirmed allegations of sinking piers in Ungka, ultimately leading to the current rectification works based on resulting recommendations.

The P95.95 million contract for these works has been awarded to Davao City-based Monolithic Construction and Concrete Products, Inc., with the contract signed on January 5 this year, having a duration of 120 calendar days or about four months.

Retrofitting works will still follow, with an estimated P200 million cost, which Trimañez said could have been allocated to build more super health centers and assist indigent residents in buying needed medicines.