Party-list lawmaker backs call for House probe on ‘sinking flyover’

Uswag Ilonggo Party-List Rep. James “Jojo” Ang Jr.

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

A lawmaker and nephew of the contractor of the P680-million Ungka flyover backed calls to probe the controversial project.

Uswag Ilonggo Party-List Rep. James “Jojo” Ang Jr. said he supports the resolution file by fellow partylist Rep. Raoul Manuel (Kabataan Party-List) to investigate the P680-million flyover which is closed to traffic due to its sinking piers.

Rep. Ang is a nephew of businessman Alfonso Tan, whose family owns International Builders Corp., the contractor of the Ungka flyover.

Ang said he had not met Manuel but welcomes any resolution or privilege speech at the House regarding the issue.

“I haven’t talked to [Manuel], that is welcome. Every congressman [can call for a] privilege speech or inquiry. I can, but I chose to talk directly to DPWH to resolve it,” said Ang.

“In fairness to Congressman Manuel, that is his right, and he can do that. If he wants to seek an audience by himself with the DPWH. [Manuel’s] inquiry, if we would be invited, we will join that,” he added.

Ang recalled that he joined fellow House members including Reps. Julienne Baronda (Iloilo City-Lone) and Michael Gorriceta (Iloilo-2nd) in meeting Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel Bonoan and some of the agency’s key officials back in December 2022.

It was this December meeting where Bonoan told them about his plans to visit the controversial flyover, which the latter did last Jan 13, 2023.

During the visit, Bonoan said that he would not recommend the reopening of the flyover to vehicular traffic anytime soon as it continues to sink.

“[DPWH] was already annoyed by us, but we’ve seen it, going home every week. I’ve seen that traffic has gotten worse, so if they have solutions, we have to fix that. […] [Bonoan] has had instructions, in fairness to them, to expedite that,” Ang said.

Ang also mentioned the right-of-way (ROW) being acquired by DPWH for the road widening to ease traffic under the flyover, saying that if landowners would comply with their documentary requirements, they will be guaranteed just compensation from the department.

But Ang warned of the lack of funds for the ROW acquisition.

“I heard [Bonoan] commit to talk about it, but to seek with landowners to widen the roads first, then they comply with their papers, because the DPWH will pay them, as far as this [right of way is concerned],” he said.

“I think there aren’t many funds for right of way. There are fewer funds for ROW in the [General Appropriations Act] budget.”

Manuel confirmed to Daily Guardian on January 8 that he will be pushing for a Congressional inquiry into the P680-million flyover which straddles Iloilo City and Pavia town, citing the urgency of resolution of the issues surrounding it since its closure to vehicular traffic back in September.


Ang also defended his co-authorship of the controversial House Bill No. 6608 (Maharlika Investment Fund Act), which would establish a sovereign wealth fund that would aim to invest in local and global financial markets with economic development end-goals.

He added his name to the list of co-authors on December 13, 2022, together with 281 of his colleagues, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez (Leyte-1st) and Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos (Ilocos Norte-1st).

The neophyte lawmaker highlighted that the Maharlika Investments Corp, which will be created by the proposed law, would need to have good leadership to make the right investments, citing the country’s current bout with rising inflation.

“If they handle the funds well, they will invest where there may be return. We have inflation right now at around 6 to 7 percent, and when we look at the money, it’s not increasing. But if we invest it, there will be returns. I think [HB No. 6608] is okay,” he said.

HB No. 6608 was approved by the House of Representatives on Dec 15, 2022 and was transmitted to the Senate on Dec 19. It is yet to be placed on the Senate calendar for First Reading.