Governor supports call for House probe on flyovers

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr.

By John Noel E. Herrera

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. has expressed support for the call of the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) of Pavia for a congressional probe on two ongoing flyover projects in Iloilo, including the P680-million “sinking” Ungka flyover.

Defensor, however, explained that it is not his duty in the executive branch to pass a resolution regarding the matter, but he assured that he supported the call of the municipal council.

“Yes, of course (I support), isa na ka pamaagi, but because I am from the executive branch, (what we can do) is to go there and ask, kay ti amu ma lang na siya, know the structural (status), amu ni siya ang sakto nga assessment, ano mga natabo ngaa amu ni structural damage ya,” Defensor said during his regular press conference on Friday, Dec 16, 2022.

Earlier, Sangguniang Bayan member Pyt Trimañez of Pavia, Iloilo authored a resolution requesting lawmakers Julienne Baronda (Iloilo City), Janette Garin (Iloilo, 1st district), Michael Gorriceta (Iloilo, 2nd district), Lorenz Defensor (Iloilo, 3rd district), Ferjenel Biron (Iloilo, 4th district), Raul Tupas (Iloilo, 5th district), James Ang (Uswag Ilonggo), Lex Anthony Colada (Aambis Owa), and Raoul Manuel (Kabataan) to make representations in Congress in calling for a legislative inquiry in aid of legislation on the Ungka and Aganan flyovers.

Trimañez also said that the Ungka flyover was supposed to be the answer to the traffic problem in the area, but it caused traffic to worsen after it was closed due to the sinking of three of its piers or foundations.

Defensor, on the other hand, also emphasized that he wanted to know from the Department of Works and Highways (DPWH) the right reasons and answers as to why the flyover is sinking and remains inaccessible to motorists.

Defensor added that he will visit DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan next week to personally talk about the flyover as he was already able to send a letter to his office, asking for further updates about the planned reconstruction of the flyover.

“This civil infrastructure is very important to the connectivity of the province. In this regard, we may respectfully request for the Department’s assessment of any structural damage and the corresponding engineering interventions,” part of the letter read.

The DPWH had earlier said that they hired a third-party expert to study the structural design closely with the DPWH officials.

DPWH also sent a geo-technical team “to determine (material) under the rocks, and conduct soil analysis”, and an audit team to monitor the progress of the flyover.

But during the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-6’s ocular inspection on Dec 15, Iloilo City Councilor Ely Estante said that there is no timetable yet as to when the third-party experts will start to investigate the situation in Ungka flyover.

Estante added that the results of the investigation of the Technical Working Group (TWG) will help to know the real reasons for the sinking of the three piers or foundation of the flyover and to determine if it can be sustained by the engineering interventions that will be conducted by TWG.

He also said that if the investigation result shows that 60 percent of the three piers of the flyover were damaged, then it will be subjected to reconstruction.