DPWH Iloilo City head apologizes for ‘past issues’

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Region 6 headed by Director Sanny Boy Oropel discussed upcoming infrastructure projects, including the Iloilo Sunset Boulevard and Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway, at the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas session on May 28, 2024. (Francis Allan L. Angelo photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

The head of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Iloilo City District Engineering Office (DPWH-ICDEO) recently apologized for issues predating his term that led to persona non grata declarations by city officials.

In an open letter to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas dated June 13, DPWH-ICDEO Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Roy Pacanan addressed the mayor’s Executive Order No. 084, series of 2023, dated June 11, which declared him persona non grata.

Concerning the transfer of the district engineering office, coordination with the city government began in 2022, and Pacanan only assumed office in August 2023. He received communication on the matter only later on October 25, 2023.

“From then on, several correspondences were made between our Offices regarding this matter. As the OIC [district engineer] of DPWH ICDEO, I have taken full responsibility in addressing the transfer of our office to a suitable location without compromising the efficiency of our mandate and our duties serving the public,” Pacanan said in his open letter.

Despite coordination with the city government since 2022, the DPWH-ICDEO faced challenges, including the identification of a suitable location for the office.

Initial plans to move to the Iloilo Fishing Port Complex were scrapped after finding the site unsuitable.

The OIC district engineer explained that difficulties arose before their move to the old STI campus along Mission Road in Jaro district’s Montinola village.

These problems were attributed to the lessor, Jason Resources Development Corporation, failing to renew its Mayor’s Permit, causing a breakdown in lease negotiations.

“On March 08, 2024, the undersigned informed your Honorable Office that an office space, which is located in Mac Arthur STI Building, Barangay Montinola, Mission Road, Jaro, Iloilo City, was being considered. However, the inability of the lessor to renew its Mayor’s Permit caused the failure of the negotiation for possible lease agreement,” he said.

Pacanan emphasized the urgency of vacating their office in Fort San Pedro, Iloilo City, and the challenges in finding an ideal location.

He mentioned that while most of the office was cleared by June 6, 2024, they requested to maintain their IT room, which contained the data cabinet connected to the agency’s central office.

Regarding their permanent office in Arevalo district’s Sooc village, Pacanan noted that the project was in Phase 2 of implementation, with resource availability affecting its completion.

“Despite our commitment to complete our new office building located at Brgy. Sooc, Arevalo, Iloilo City, the availability of resources affected its full completion. This multi-year project is being implemented in phases and is currently in Phase 2 level,” Pacanan explained.

He expressed gratitude for the donated land and committed to expediting the project with sufficient funding.

“On behalf of the DPWH ICDEO, we convey our heartfelt gratitude for the donation of a parcel of land for the Construction of our permanent office. We commit to expedite its implementation provided sufficient funds are available,” he expressed further.

Pacanan recalled receiving a commendation from the mayor in September 2023, which he believed was a first for any head of the ICDEO. He highlighted the DPWH-ICDEO’s standing as one of the top district engineering offices in Region VI.

He ultimately apologized for any actions that may have led to the city government’s declarations against him.

“While I fully understand the gravity of the said declaration, I have maintained my deep respect to the Local Government Unit of Iloilo City, most especially to you as City Mayor. I assure you that any of my actions, which may have been perceived as inappropriate were actually unintentional. I respectfully request the opportunity to discuss this matter with you to provide the necessary clarifications,” he added.

The city government’s grievances against Pacanan also included delays in project completion within the city.

The city council, in its regular session on June 10, declared Pacanan persona non grata and revoked the ICDEO’s authority over the construction of the Mandurriao public market and six multi-purpose buildings funded under previous General Appropriations Acts.