Ilocos Norte board to probe DPWH road projects slippage

LAOAG CITY —The Ilocos Norte Provincial Board is set to conduct an inspection of some road construction projects here which are allegedly substandard.

Located within the boundary of Burgos and Bangui towns for example, Municipal Mayor Fidel Cimatu earlier wrote a letter to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, complaining about the road project slippage here being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) based in Region 1.

According to the DPWH, the Burgos-Bangui road project is worth PHP 173 million and it is now 85 percent paid in full to the winning bidder which is a joint venture between a local based contractor AB Taylan Construction and one from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

Another road project in remote Surong Valley in Vintar, Ilocos Norte is also being complained of by villagers for taking its toll in construction.

While calling on the attention of assigned project engineers from the DPWH to explain and provide update about the project, Provincial Board member Vicentito Lazo aired his disgust why one contractor of the project has to be based in Marawi City, which is too far from the project site.

“To save the government from unnecessary expenses, isn’t it right to consider contractors or contact person to be based local? We are shocked because the project is located in Burgos and Bangui but the authorized contact person, based on the joint venture contract, if anything happens, is based in Marawi City?” Lazo quipped during an initial public inquiry held at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall.

the heads of DPWH of Ilocos Norte’s first and second districts were also invited to attend the hearing but they regret for having a mix up of schedule.

In view of this, another meeting was set anytime this week, inviting all concerned authorities to conduct ocular inspection on the alleged slippage of government road construction projects in the province.

If needed, Lazo said the provincial board may be prompted to bring the issue to the Ombudsman or to enact an ordinance specifying that contractors or contact persons of road construction projects in Ilocos Norte should be based local for easier access in case of any problem.