Capitol to file cases vs DPWH officials over UN Avenue project mess

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | December 14,2022 - 07:31 PM
Motorists are encouraged to be patient while passing along UN Avenue in Mandaue City because of the ongoing infrastructure project there. | Mary Rose Sagarino

UN Avenue in Mandaue City. | file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has had enough with the potholes and other road defects still found on U.N. Avenue in Mandaue City.

During a press conference on Wednesday, December 14 Garcia announced that the Capitol will be filing cases against several officials from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Garcia publicly expressed her disappointment over the Central Visayas office of DPWH (DPWH-7) in what she described as the latter’s slow action in resolving the public inconvenience caused by a stalled multi-million underpass project in U.N. Avenue.

“As governor of this province of Cebu, I will take legal action against all those responsible for this continuing imposition upon the Cebuano public causing untold inconvenience, misery, a black mark on Cebu’s image, and economic negative consequences,” Garcia said.

The Capitol’s lawyers are set to file administrative and criminal charges among specific individuals from DPWH and DPWH-7 before the Ombudsman next week.

In the meantime, the governor will be asking authority from the Provincial Board (PB) to allow her to file the cases. The Capitol is also still finalizing the names of the officials who might be facing the charges.

On top of administrative and criminal complaints, Garcia also considered declaring them as persona non-grata in the entire Cebu. She accused the officials of disregarding the ‘welfare and interests of the Cebuanos’, particularly motorists and commuters passing along U.N. Avenue.

“Gibinaboy ta. They don’t give a heck about the Cebuanos. I don’t know if they can sleep at night nga mao ni ilahang gicause,” Garcia added.

CDN Digital has reached out to DPWH-7 for their comments as of this posting.

‘Delays, Excuses, Lies’

The DPWH-7’s last straw with the Capitol apparently involved repair works on portions of U.N. Avenue where the underpass project was being constructed.

According to Garcia, the province had already provided heavy equipment, and raw materials so DPWH-7 can fast track the road repairs.

But in a recent meeting, the governor learned that no work had been made and that DPWH-7 had to do public bidding on December 20 before proceeding with the repairs.

“I have ordered for those equipment to be pulled out. It’s been over a month and I have expected (for the repair works to progress),” explained Garcia.

The governor’s ire towards DPWH-7 also stemmed from recent discoveries the Capitol made regarding the U.N. Avenue Underpass project.

Garcia blamed DPWH-7 for sharing half-truths and lies in the previous meetings they had.

Among these ‘lies’ she pointed out were inconsistencies between their claims and those of concerned national government offices, including the DPWH central office and Office of the Solicitor General.

The Capitol earlier called a meeting with DPWH-7 and BM Marketing to solve the damaged portions of U.N. Avenue. Initially, the province wanted to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DPWH-7 that would allow them to do repair work there.

However, they dropped this plan after finding out that the highway is the project of an ongoing legal battle between DPWH-7 and BM Marketing, the latter being the private contractor that bagged the P700-million contract in constructing the U.N. Avenue underpass project in 2017.

It stemmed from an investigation from DPWH’s central office, accusing the private firm of allegedly falsifying records of their completed projects.

Based on earlier reports from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, DPWH then decided to scrap the project and issued a termination notice against BM Marketing.

BM Marketing has since denied the allegations hurled against them.

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, one of the three bridges that link mainland Cebu to Mactan Island. /rcg


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TAGS: Capitol, Cebu‬, Cebu capitol, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, DPWH, DPWH-7, Gov. Gwen Garcia, Mandaue City, Ombudsman, persona non grata, UN Avenue
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