BAGUIO CITY – Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong has urged lawmakers to probe substandard public works projects in his city as well as in other areas in the country, following the collapse of a road slope protection project along Kennon Road, rendering the area impassable.
Due to the May 9 collapse of the slope protection project, Kennon Road is only open to residents.
“It’s about time that somebody has to speak up, and unravel a lot of things that are going on with our public works, especially our infrastructure because this is public money,” Magalong said.
In an interview on May 23, Magalong said that the issue of substandard public works projects need to be addressed in Congress, noting that this concern is not limited to Baguio City.
“I’ve been talking to several mayors and we have the same sentiment. They have told me, ‘Mayor, probably you can take the lead. You start it, and we will support,’ they said,” Magalong said.
“The frustration is growing. It’s about time that it all gets brought out. What is happening with these projects, especially those led by the Department of Public [Works and] Highways,” Magalong added.
Kennon Road has been subject to multiple efforts to turn the road into an all-weather road, with a rehabilitation bill signed into law in January 2022.
Rehabilitation efforts in portions of the road in Camp 3, Camp 4, Camp 5, and Camp 6 in Tuba, Benguet, were supposed to commence in 2021, but the DPWH central office was unable to release the funding for the project, pushing back the project to 2023.
The portions in question cost some P850 million to fund the rehabilitation of roads with slips, road collapse, and landslides; put up of rock netting and slope protection; replacement of a demonstration bridge; and channel excavation and flood control along Bued River.
Despite efforts to improve Kennon Road and keep it accessible, it has been closed regularly due to inclement weather, with the latest incident on May 9 keeping the road closed to date.
The DPWH is on the hook for the rehabilitation of the road under Republic Act 11604, authored by Baguio representative Mark Go, as the RA was signed into law during the previous administration.
“It is becoming impractical and costly to continue doing interim or provisional works in this major road for it to be passable every now and then,” Go said. – Rappler.com
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