Mambaling flooding: When the cart is put before the horse

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc September 13,2019 - 07:43 AM

With the admission of a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) official that the delayed drainage project in Mambaling was the cause of the waist-deep flooding in the area, we have now found proof of what we have always known: how lousy or terribly stupid government projects are being implemented.  

No less than the underpass project engineer of DPWH-7, Roy de la Cruz, admitted that the P15 million road widening project that includes a drainage system should have been implemented prior to the construction of the Mambaling underpass project. He said that another project worth P18 million will also be used to improve the drainage system in the area. 

But because it was interchanged (meaning, the underpass being first built instead of drainage projects) the result was the terrible flooding last September 1 due to the heavy rain brought by the tropical storm Liwayway. People in the area said that the flooding has gotten worse since the underpass project was built. 

I saw the horrifying photos posted on social media about the flooding. There were cars that got stranded because of engine problems amidst the flooding. 

With this realization, the obvious questions would be: Why did DPWH insist that the P700-million worth underpass project be implemented when the road right of way and the drainage system were not yet put in place? What happened to the engineers of DPWH who are supposed to supervise the project?

What about the contractor of the underpass project? Is it not that WT construction was the one that built the underpass project? Is it not that WT construction is almost always the one that could get government contracts?

What about Congressman Bebot Abellanosa, who exerted efforts so that project would be implemented? Did he not go into the details just like when he built his own buildings? 

Without concrete evidence, it would be unfair to accuse those involved of corruption by way of “commission,” “SOP,” etchetera. But it is unavoidable in this incident to ask as to what motivated those responsible in implementing the project that puts the cart before the horse.  

I do not want to accuse people in this particular project.  But I always heard that corrupt government officials most often get “commission” or “SOP” that will range from 10-30 percent in every anomalous government transaction. 

I hope what I heard is wrong. If it is true, I could not imagine the 30 percent of P700 million worth of project, which is equivalent to P210 million. Or if it is at least 10 percent, it is still a huge amount of money amounting to P70 million. Is it not enough to motivate the corrupt? 

One cannot say it’s just a case of poor judgment, just like putting too much or not enough salt on what one is cooking. It cannot be said that it was just plain poor memory, just when one wrongly spelled a word. No, sir. 

Another mystery!


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