COA asked to probe halsema reblocking project


BUGUIAS, Benguet  – Anti-crime and anti-corruption advocates petitioned the Cordillera office of the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct an in-depth investigation or validation on the multi-million peso rehabilitation and reblocking project along the Halsema highway being implemented by the regional office of the public works department in the interest of justice, fair play, transparency and good governance.

In a 3-page urgent petition, Salvador Liked, Secretary-General of the Cordillera chapter of the Citizens Crime Watch (CCW-CAR), alleged that there is a serious discrepancy in the implementation of the P210 million Halsema highway road rehabilitation and reblocking project that was awarded to Jomarcan Construction with 14 sections to be rehabilitated but in a separate memorandum of project engineer Ismael dela Cruz, there are only 11 sections that are supposed to be reblocked.

However, Liked alleged that based on the latest reports from the agency, there are supposed to be 15 sections that should be reblocked, thus, the need for the contractor to work double time to improve the status of the project.

He claimed that the reasons of the project engineer in relation to the massive scaling, cracks and holes along some of the sections are due to the adjacent road slip is irrelevant.

Earlier, DPWH-CAR officials ordered a remove and replace of some of the pavements that incurred massive scaling, cracks and holes due to alleged poor workmanship on the part of the reported erring contractor.

According to him, almost all of the sections of the road reblocking project have encountered such glaring defects but what was removed and replaced were only 10 meters length of what was pictured to be defective.

“We are the ones regularly using the Halsema and we are not blind to be simply fooled by the contractor’s petty reasoning as to the cause of the numerous cracks, scaling and holes,” Liked stressed.

He challenged DPWH officials and technical personnel to conduct an ocular inspection in the project site to ascertain the cause of the blatant defects of the major infrastructure project along the roadline that tends to seriously delay the travel to and from northern Benguet and Mountain Province.

He accused DPWH-CAR officials to be allegedly in cahoots with the contractor in the implementation of alleged substandard projects which is to the detriment of the government considering that its economic life will surely not be realized due to the questionable mode of implementation by the winning project contractor.

According to him, motorists using the Halsema highway have suffered for years due to the never ending intermittent road blocking projects causing hours of traffic that tend to have a serious negative impact on the economic activities of people living in various communities along the stretch of the major road leading to the Cordillera.

He asserted that a number of DPWH-CAR officials who are allegedly in cahoots with erring public works contractors are reportedly good in coming out with incredible reasons to allegedly cover-up their misdeeds which are obviously detrimental to the safety of motorists.