Lawmakers urged to probe flyovers

A congressional probe must be conducted on the Ungka flyover to determine what happened to its sinking piers and its safety for motorists and commuters. (PROMETHEUS photo)

By John Noel E. Herrera

Lawmakers in Iloilo City and province were asked to call for a congressional probe on two ongoing flyover projects, including the P680-million sinking flyover in Ungka.

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.

Ang is a nephew of businessman Alfonso Tan, whose family owns International Builders Corporation (IBC) the contractor of the two flyover projects.

Trimañez 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.

“More than two years nga gin-hulat namon, nagakasubo kami nga gin-patilaw lang kita sang madali nga panahon tapos gin sira naman because of vertical displacement,” he added.

“Ini nga project sa Pavia is really an ice breaker. It is a lesson learned. Dapat kita tanan bantayan gid naton ang mga proyekto sang gobyerno especially kun ang safety naton ang paga-istoryahan,” he said.

In a meeting with Baronda and Gorriceta, DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan earlier said that they will try to reopen the flyover in January 2023 as they hired third-party experts 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.

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

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

The 680-million flyover, which was funded through the efforts of former Senator Franklin Drilon, was fully opened to motorists on Sept 6, 2022, but it was closed on Sept 18 due to complaints of vertical movement or sinking of three piers or foundations, as well as reports of flooding at the top of the structure.

Meanwhile, the Iloilo City Council urged the Department of Works and Highways and Ungka flyover contractor International Builders Corporation (IBC) to explain the delays in the repairs and reopening of the flyover to motorists.

The action came after the council unanimously approved the resolution filed by councilor Johnny Young, chair of the Committee on Engineering, Construction, and Public Works on Monday, Dec 12, 2022.

The resolution also stated that the “people of Iloilo City are already demanding an explanation from the DPWH and IBC for the delays in the reopening of the Ungka flyover.”

Last week, Young filed a resolution urging the DPWH to expedite the stabilization and repairs at the flyover, as well as to fine IBC for liquidated damages, and for the DPWH to take over the project to fix the problems and finish it already, but it was deferred.

According to Young, he changed the resolution, only urging both the DPWH and IBC to explain the delays in the reopening, as they cannot just jump to conclusions and immediately let the DPWH take over the project.

“I-upod naton subong ang private contractor sa resolution para mag-explain with regards sa flyover, pero with regards nga ipa-takeover naton sa DPWH kag mangayo sang liquidated damages, I think we cannot come to that conclusion until such time nga mabatian naton ang both parties sa ila nga explanation with regards sa flyover,” Young said.

“Ang gina-expect gid naton nga mabal-an ano ang rason ngaa nag-usmod ang flyover, kag kung kinahanglan naton nga kung i-repair man na nila, ano ka safe ang motorists kung maglabay, maggamit sang aton flyover, and at least ma solve ang traffic sa Ungka, Pavia, especially ma-Dinagyang Festival na,” he added.