‘WAKE-UP MOMENT: Engineer calls for DPWH’s procurement system review amid UFO failed soil test 

Iloilo-based structural engineer Nilo Jardeleza said reviewing DPWH’s procurement system will avoid design and structural failures on the agency’s big-ticket or superstructure projects.

By John Noel E. Herrera

A structural engineer in Iloilo is pushing for reviews and updates in the procurement system of consultancy services hired by the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) for their projects to avoid engineering problems.

Engr. Nilo Jardeleza said it is one way to avoid design and structural failures in the agency’s big-ticket or superstructure projects, just like what happened to the Ungka II Flyover (UFO) in Pavia, Iloilo, wherein the structure sank because of failed soil suitability testing conducted by a DPWH-hired consulting firm.

“Ang DPWH, kadamo sang project under Build, Build, Build (program). Hindi na nila masaparan, so naga-kuha sila sang mga consultant. So, that is why kinahanglan maid-id ina ang pamaagi para sa pagkuha sang consultant kag naga-require ina sang amendments or revisions,” Jardeleza added.

One way to address the changes in the DPWH procurement system, according to Jardeleza, is for Congress to investigate, in aid of legislation, the defective P680-million flyover, noting that it is an example of a failed process.

“May ara kita sang sistema nga dapat liwaton. That is why kinahanglan gid na ang investigation sa congress in aid of legislation nga i-upgrade naton ang aton review kag ang personnel sang naga-review… Ining mga consultant kinahanglan ma-investigate man sila kag ma-verify,” he stressed.

Jardeleza revealed that for Ungka Flyover, DPWH hired United Technology Consolidated Partnership (UTCP) to conduct the soil test and to formulate the plan and design of the Ungka flyover.

Citing the National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP) for bridges, which limits allowable displacement of 50 millimeters or less, Jardeleza stressed that there was a failure in the soil testing which resulted in the sinking of the flyover’s piers or foundations.

“Under the strength capacity limit, i-test mo nga siguraduhon ang pile makadala sang iya bearing capacity versus sa iya ginakarga. I-check mo man na siya against uplift kag pinakaimportante lantawon kung ang layer sang duta kung malab-ot na ang strong layer, check kung ano kadalom ina kay basi may underlying soft layer pa gid. Wala na gin-ubra sang ining consultant,” he explained.

As the lead implementing and procurement agency of the project, Jardeleza stressed that DPWH is accountable for the problems surrounding the flyover, together with its hired geotechnical consultant, UTCP, that conducted the soil test.

The engineer added that the design was submitted by UTCP to the Bureau of Design (BOD) in DPWH central office for inspection and review before it was given to the regional office for bidding, construction oversight and quality control.

Thus, the local contractor has no liability for the implementation of the faulty plan and design of the Ungka flyover.

Jardeleza said UTCP should have conducted due diligence and procured additional data on the project site.

“Bisan pa nga gin-review sang central office kag ginpirmahan sang government officials sang DPWH, ang nag-prepare sang design is still liable sa natabo sa project kung failure… However, kung nagsulat man siya nga mapangayo, gapadugang kutkot and gin disapprove, ti libre sya. Pero kung wala nag-conduct sang iya due diligence ang company nga nagconduct sang design, sila may responsibilidad sa gihapon bisan gin subject to review pa sa DPWH,” he explained.

As to his proposal to review and change the procurement system for professional consultants, Jardeleza suggested that there should be a review committee that will be composed of the private sector, the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP), and government agencies like DENR, PAGASA, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, among others.

“Paintrahon ina kag kung ano pa gid ang importante nga agencies. Then ang reviewer, hindi lang dapat duwa para hindi malutsan kay this time nalutsan kita. Hindi na gid naton gusto matabo ina kay kadako nga perwisyo,” he said.


Jardeleza, on the other hand, is also against the demolition of the Ungka Flyover, noting that it can be rehabilitated for lesser expenses and for the public to use it sooner.

He stressed that total reconstruction of the flyover would take more time and money.

In a Regional Development Council meeting two weeks ago, it was disclosed that all 16 piers of the flyover have been sinking since May 13, 2022.

The Abinales consulting firm disclosed that three piers sank by almost two feet, based on the investigation which cost another P13.8 million.

They also recommended three options that will cost at least an additional P250 million and a 10-month construction duration for the flyover, which include adding bored piles to support the existing piers (piers 4,5,6); providing portal frames to support piers 4,5 and 6; and underpinning or jet grouting the 13 other piers.

Jardeleza revealed that he has a proposed plan which will be presented to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Iloilo and the Regional Development Council – Infrastructure and Development Committee, wherein he is a member as a representative of the private sector.