politics

The P53.0 Dungon Bridge Anomaly in Iloilo

With all credits to the Citizens Infrastructure Integrity Watchdog (InfraWatch) ·

The P36.0 Million spent by the DWPH Iloilo City District Engineering Office (ICDEO) on the two-lane Dungon Bridge is obscenely overpriced. It is overpriced by at least P15.0 Million as compared to a similar bridge in Negros Occidental completed in April 2012. The 25-meter Ayungon Bridge in La Carlota City only cost P21.825 Million as compared to P36.0 Million of Dungon Bridge in Iloilo City.

InfraWatch has brought to the attention of DWPH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson the big discrepancy of almost P5.0 Million between the project cost P36.0 Million and the original contract price of P31,408,120.15. However, Secretary Singson, one of the favourite Cabinet members of President Benigno S. Aquino III, has not explained over the past two months the P5.0 Million discrepancy cited in our letter 13 August 2012.

The project cost of P36.0 Million for 25 meters is P1,440,000.00 per linear meter, which is more expensive than the two obscenely overpriced imported modular steel bridges built along Juan Luna Avenue under the President’s Bridges Program (PBP) that will be probed by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee beginning October this year. In fact, Dungon Bridge is the Most Expensive Bridge in the Philippines on per linear meter basis!

The 305-meter Infante flyover built in January 2008 cost P400 Million or P1,311,000.00 per linear meter. The imported modular steel bridge was supplied by Mabey & Johnson of the United Kingdom. The 315-meter Jalandoni flyover completed in April 2010 cost P386.0 Million or P1,225,000.00 per linear meter. The imported modular steel bridge was supplied by Matiere S.A.S. of France.

The cost of elevated flyovers built of pre-stressed concrete, which is more expensive than regular bridges like Dungon Brdige, is only about P300,000.00 per linear meter. Two flyovers built by the DWPH in Cebu in 2008 and 2011 cost less than P300,000.00 per linear meter. The 390-meter Banilad flyover located at Governor Cuenco St. and A.S. Fortuna cost only P87.0 Million or P223,000.000 per linear meter. It was completed in September 2008. The 420-meter Mambaling Bridge located at Gochan St and Rizal St cost only P110.0 Million or P262,000.00 per linear meter. It was completed in April 2011.

The price of P36.0 Million for Dungon Bridge can already build a four-lane bridge and not just two lanes as what happened in Iloilo City. This is at the cost of P720,000.00 per linear meter computed at double the length of 50 meters since it is for four lanes. P720,000.00 per linear meter is already More Than Double (2.4 times) than the P300,000.00 per linear meter done in Cebu City already with price escalation for 2012.

InfraWatch will request the Senate Blue-Ribbon Committee to invite DWPH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, the DPWH Region VI Director and ICDEO Chief, Engr. Rodney Gustilo, to shed light on the costings of the two steel bridges along Juan Luna Ave. vis-a-vis the Dungon Bridge in Iloilo, which is even more expensive than the obscenely overpriced flyovers made of imported modular steel components from the United Kingdom and France.

The primary issue is why the DWPH demolished the Dungon Bridge in the first place when it was still in good working condition before it was torn down by the DWPH contractor, the Bacolod-based AFG Construction company. Residents of Iloilo City and adjacent towns suffered miserably during the almost ten (10) months that the bridge connecting the districts ofJaro and Mandurriao was closed to vehicular traffic. When Dungon Bridge was finally opened in 21 August 2012 by the DWPH and the Iloilo City Mayor and Congressman, there was no value added at all because it was just back to what it was before: a two-lane bridge!

The DWPH Region VI Office and/or its ICDEO have to present its justification on why Dungon Bridge was destroyed when it was still in good working condition. As we asked DWPH Secretary Singson in our second letter of 25 September 2012: “were structural tests conducted at all by DPWH?” Infrawatch inspected the girders, piers and abutments of the said bridge and documented its condition with photographs in late January 2012 and found them in good condition. In fact, the quality of the concrete work can be seen as excellent.

However, even assuming that it is already a “weak bridge,” there was no need to demolish it. Dungon Bridge can be strengthened through modern technology with the use of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) that was used by DWPH in the Buendia flyover along Osmeña Ave. (continuation of SLEX) in Makati. Similar reinforcement of “weak bridges” had been done around the country by the DWPH, such as in Kennon Road in Baguio during the second quarter of 2012.

A corollary issue is why did the DWPH ICDEO started to built a four-lane bridge in late 2011 when the approved budget was only for a two-lane bridge of P31,408,120.15? (As per DWPH billboard, the “Source of Fund” was “065-10-H-0067.”) No less than DWPH Iloilo District Engineer Gustilo said that the additional funding for the extra two lanes has not been released as of October 2012. The DWPH District Engineer of ICDEO was reported in a local newspaper that he expects the P16.9 Million to be released early next year in 2013. However, as of October 2012, the National Budget for 2013 has not yet been approved by Congress.

The Filipino people suffered a Triple-Whammy in Dungon Bridge in Iloilo. First, Dungon Bridge was demolished even if it was in good working condition. Second, the replacement bridge costing P36.0 Million is obscenely overpriced and more expensive than the two imported modular steel bridges also located in Iloilo City, as well as the Cebu tunnel and the newly-opened Quezon Blvd. underpass . Third, Dungon Bridge will be unnncessarily widened to four lanes at the extra cost of P17.0 Million even if the El 98 National Road where it is located only has two lanes.

It is most unfortunate that the DWPH, including Secretary Singson, does not seem to understand that roads and bridges are supposed to be widened at the same time and not one ahead of the other, which will only create a veritable road hazard to the commuting public. In fact, this was one of the Policy Recommendations of InfraWatch to DWPH Secretary Singson more than a year ago way back in 2011.

To date, InfraWatch reiterates the fact that Dungon Bridge is the Most Expensive Bridge in the Philippines. At the cost of almost P1.5 Million per linear meter, it is even more expensive than the obscenely overpriced two-lane steel bridges in Iloilo City that cost between P1.2 Million to P1.3 Million per linear meter. The two-lane Dungon Bridge cost more than the tunnel in Cebu City which is only P1.3 Million per linear meter, but with four lanes. Lastly, the two-lane Dungon Bridge is also More Expensive than the recently inaugurated Quezon Blvd – G. Araneta underpass that cost only P1.0 Million per linear meter and yet with four lanes.

Ricardo B. Ramos, Executive Director, Citizens Infrastructure Integrity WatchDog (InfraWatch), Email: pshfi.infrawatch@gmail.com ;Tel. Nos. 0917 582 2231; 0918 916 8476

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