BAGUIO Mayor Benjamin Magalong is calling for a congressional probe into substandard public works in the area following a May collapse of a road slope protection project along Kennon Road, rendering the area impassable.
Currently, due to the May 9 collapse of the slope protection project, Kennon Road is only open to residents.
“It’s about time that somebody has to speak up, and unravel a lot of things that are going on with our public works, especially our infrastructure because this is public money,” Magalong said.
In an interview on May 23, Magalong said that the issue of substandard public works needs to be addressed in Congress, saying that the matter is not just limited to Baguio City.
“I’ve been talking to several mayors and we have the same sentiment. They have told me, “ Magalon said. Magalong said that other mayors have told him, “Mayor, probably you can take the lead. You start it, and we will support you.”
“The frustration is growing. It’s about time that it all gets brought out – what is happening with these projects, especially those led by the Department of Public (Works and ) Highways,” Magalong added.
Kennon Road has been subject to multiple efforts to turn the road into an all-weather road, with a rehabilitation bill having been signed into law as early as January of 2022.
Rehabilitation efforts in portions of the road in Camp 3, Camp 4, Camp 5, and Camp 6 at Tuba, Benguet were supposed to commence in 2021, but the DPWH central office was unable to release the funding for the project, delaying the project until 2023.
The portions in question cost some P850 million worth of rehabilitation funding, for the rehabilitation of roads with slips, road collapse, and landslides, putting up of rock netting and slope protection, replacement of a demonstration bridge, and channel excavation and flood control along Bued River.
Despite efforts to improve the road and keep it accessible, the road has been closed regularly due to inclement weather, with the latest incident on May 9 keeping the road closed until the current day.
The DPWH is on the hook for the rehabilitation of the road under Republic Act 11604, authored by Baguio representative Mark Go, as the RA was signed into law during the previous administration.
“It is becoming impractical and costly to continue doing interim or provisional works in this major road for it to be passable every now and then,” Go said.