Wrong priorities | Global News

Wrong priorities

/ 02:46 PM May 06, 2011

If Cebu Mayor Michael Rama were intent on evaluating the performance of various departments under his wing, he would start with the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW).

The DEPW’s performance was called to attention by Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias, an engineer, concerning the substandard construction of school buildings in some of Cebu City’s hinterland barangays along with the presence of large quantities of unused construction materials in City Hall’s stockyard, some of which remained unused for a decade.

When asked why they were unable to see the structural defects of the school building in barangay Toong, the DEPW said the cracks in the walls and the tilting floor may have occurred after their inspections.


They did manage to make a few recommendations on the structurally deficient flooring of Toong’s barangay hall, but the project was a joint effort by a city government-hired contractor and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), with the DPWH’s half managing to be a lot more stable than the portion built by MSDLR, the contractor hired by the city.


But it’s not just the school buildings and barangay halls that were found wanting. What about the long-delayed report on the substandard projects done in Cebu City’s southern districts that were done by another contractor E.M. Arante Construction that was done in coordination with the DPWH?

One also wonders what the DEPW plans to do with the culverts, bags of cement, hollow blocks and steel bars neglected in the engineering stockyard of the South Road Properties. Why would the city buy hollow blocks when they have five hollow block makers?

Probably donating them for use to repair those substandard schools and barangay halls may be a good idea were it not for the fact that the contractor is still obligated to make the repairs or else conduct a complete overhaul of their projects at little to no cost to the city government.

In explaining their rather lackluster performance, specifically on the inspections of buildings in mountain barangays, Cebu City Vice Mayor Augustus Young cited the DEPW’s lack of personnel and vehicles, which prevents them from doing their job at optimum efficiency.

So we guess the solution, aside from hiring more qualified people, is to tell DEPW personnel not to order too many materials that won’t be used immediately. In that respect, the department may want to change priorities

Instead of overstuffing their stockyard with materials, the agency may want to launch a massive recruitment effort since Cebu City doesn’t want for qualified engineers to avoid spending precious taxpayers’ money.

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TAGS: Engineering, Governance, Local authorities, local officials

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