Gwen urges DPWH, contractor to settle dispute on UN Avenue
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has urged the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7) and a private contractor to settle their three-year dispute over an unfinished project along U.N. Avenue, Mandaue City.
Garcia met with DPWH-7 officials and executives of BM Marketing on Monday, November 14.
Supposedly, the meeting was to facilitate a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the provincial government and DPWH-7.
In the proposed agreement, the Capitol would fix the potholes and do asphalt overlaying on portions of U.N. Avenue leading to Marcelo Fernan Bridge, which is under the jurisdiction of DPWH-7.
But according to a report from Sugbo News, the provincial government’s media arm, Garcia decided not to push through with the repairs.
The governor found out during Monday’s activity that U.N. Avenue is the subject of an ongoing legal dispute between DPWH-7 and BM Marketing.
As a result, Garcia asked both parties to come up with a resolution in order not to prolong the public’s inconvenience.
“I am asking for you to reach an agreement. Sit down because this is not a matter of trying to prove who is the better lawyer. People’s lives and livelihoods are involved here and getting direly affected,” Garcia was quoted as saying.
“Wag na kayong magpataaasan ng ihi diyan because the rest of the public is already miserably affected,” she added.
It can be recalled that Garcia called the attention of DPWH-7 over damaged roads and other infrastructures in Cebu, including U.N. Avenue.
The governor, in earlier reports, said the Capitol would be willing to intervene and improve portions of U.N. Avenue if it meant eliminating a ‘bad, first impression’ for travelers using the highway to go to and from Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
U.N. Avenue leads to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, one of the three bridges linking Mactan Island and mainland Cebu.
DPWH-7 vs BM Marketing
DPWH-7 got into a legal battle with BM Marketing, the Leyte-based contractor that bagged the P700-million project of putting up a four-lane underpass along U.N. Avenue in 2017. Since then, progress on the big-ticket project, which formed part of the previous administration’s ‘Build Build Build’ program, has been hampered.
The case stemmed from an investigation by DPWH’s central office, accusing the private firm of allegedly falsifying records of their completed projects.
BM Marketing has since denied the allegations hurled against them.
Based on earlier reports from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, DPWH decided to drop the project and issued a termination notice against BM Marketing.
The private contractor, in response, sued the national government agency. In 2020, the court also granted them an injunction that stopped the contract termination.
The DPWH then filed a motion for reconsideration to reverse the ruling.
The UN Avenue Underpass project was initially proposed to decongest traffic going in and out of Marcelo Fernan Bridge. /rcg
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