Press Release
November 6, 2007


Citing public clamor, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla today called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to remove an official of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) liable for the blunders in several infrastructure projects in the National Capital Region (NCR).

In an urgent message to the President, Revilla requested for the sacking of DPWH-NCR Director Josefino Rigor who has the responsibility of overseeing the controversial Tullahan Bridge project.

"After a thorough investigation by the Senate Committee on Public Works which I chair, it was found through preponderance of evidence that Regional Director Rigor has been and continues to be involved in some irregularities in implementing DPWH projects in the National Capital Region," Revilla said.

He cited in particular the sub-contracting of the Tullahan Bridge which once again becomes a center of public furor due to cracks which started to appear at its approach days after the DPWH opened it to the public.

In response, the President promised to dismiss Rigor before the 15th of this month.

The senator stressed that infrastructural damages starts from the smallest cracks that could lead to loss of lives and properties.

"Cracks indicate defects or weak anticipation in construction. They blamed the delay before on the weather. Now they blamed the cracks on water seepage. The cracks may turn to big fox holes and they will spend millions of taxpayers' money again to repair it. This could be their hidden agenda," Revilla warned.

News reports said cracks and uneven approach threaten to damage vehicles that advance the bridge at high speeds. Some buses that pass the bridge had experienced trouble after the wheels got stuck on the relatively soft approach of the bridge.

DPWH Assistant Director for National Capital Region Angelito Twaño insisted the cracks are "normal."

"It is clearly abnormal for any newly-acquired item to have cracks, much more when it comes to a multi-billion infrastructure. This supports our observation that there's something wrong in the construction of the Tullahan Bridge ," said Revilla.

The lawmaker also questioned the explanation of Twaño on why the department awarded a separate contract for the bridge proper and for the approaches. Twaño earlier reasoned out there is a separate contract for the bridge proper because the funding came from separate sources- local fund for the bridge proper locally funded while the approaches came from foreign funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the approaches.

"As far as I know, this is the first time in the history of Philippine public works that there are separate contractors for the bridge proper and for the approaches. The issue here is not having two fund sources but having a split contract which is illegal, aside from the structural integrity of the bridge. DPWH-NCR officials are trying to fool the public, "he said.

Revilla clarified that ADB supposed to fund the whole bridge construction of the Tullahan Bridge but the ADB program had expired due to delays in the execution of the project.

It could be recalled that in an on-site inspection last August, the senator uncovered anomalies in the construction of the said P75-million bridge which was supposed to have been completed last May. He discovered that the foundations for the "death trap" bridge were not buried deep enough contrary to project specifications.

News Latest News Feed