Demolish or repair?

By Alex P. Vidal

“Science is about knowing; engineering is about doing.”—Henry Petroski

THERE are only two options for a condemned building: demolish or repair.

To save time and money, it’s normally a total demolition to pave the way for a new edifice—or the building of a modern commercial, industrial, residential, or sports complex.

Contemporary engineering regulations prohibit the repair of structures that have been condemned or those that are no longer fit for human habitation.

We’ve seen lots of old and tall buildings toppled by explosives and other authorized demolition devices after being condemned or restricted by a local ordinance for being hazardous to public safety and public health.

A mere repair won’t be a wise option if the building owners aim for longevity, durability, upgrade and modernization; and, most of all, wise investment.

They have to cut and cut clean.

With a striking parallelism, this brings us to the controversial multi-million infrastructure project in the boundary of Iloilo City and the Municipality of Pavia known for its spectral acronym UFO (not the Unidentified Flying Object).

Here’s the situation where the opposite seems to be inexorably imminent: repair over demolition.


Now that the P680-million Iloilo flyover project or the Ungka Flyover in Ungka, Pavia has been found to be defective by a third party consultancy entity tasked by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), there’s no way it will open for the use of pedestrians and motorists soon. At least not yet.

Although it was supposed to open in September 2022, there’s a strong indication it may still not be available for the vehicular traffic for an indefinite period of time.

Unless the DPWH will be able to fork out the enormous P250 million (at least, according to the consultancy entity) needed to fix the problem soon, the doomed project will become a liability rather than a public asset.

The longer the DPWH will find hard to produce the budget, the longer will be for the public not to be able to use the flyover.

Teetering and unreliable, the flyover can’t stand there forever like the stale giant statues of Andres Bonifacio and Lapu-Lapu if it cannot serve its purpose.

It will not only pose a gargantuan hazard to the public, its iniquitous image will constantly remind the public of the grand chicanery and swindling that once-upon-a-time descended on that area and eternally left a blot of disgrace and dishonor.

Which left the authorities with no option but to forage for the magic amount and start the repair soon. But, please, leave the taxpayers alone  and let the contractors foot the bills.

Demolition isn’t the best option—just in case some smart alecks are still entertaining this notion.


DON’T ATTRACT BURGLARS. If we have just purchased expensive items and have vacation plans, please don’t mention them in Facebook or in any other social media platforms. A Swedish insurance company has found that unguarded use of blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can attract burglars (makawat or magnanakaw). Many have been victimized because they also posted their contact information, reports said.

PAPARAZZI STRIKE IN NYC. “It’s clear that the paparazzi want to get the right shot … but public safety must always be at the forefront,” declared New York City Mayor Eric Adams, condemning “reckless” paparazzi after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan alleged photographers pursued them on Tuesday for hours through the city in a “near catastrophic” car chase. The couple was left shaken by the incident, although ultimately no one was hurt, their security detail claimed. Prince Harry has been vocal about the security of his family, often highlighting parallels between his wife’s treatment by the paparazzi to that faced by his mother, Diana. The late Princess of Wales died in 1997 after suffering internal injuries resulting from a high-speed car crash in Paris.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)