Damn contractors

    BEDEVILED BY the terrifying prospect of mass inundation in the face of the coming La Niña phenomenon, the business community has damned a construction firm for its abject failure to finish its works on the San Fernando River.

    The Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham), led by its stalwarts Levy Laus and Rene Romero, is calling – short of the constructor’s head – for stiff sanctions against R.D. Policarpio Construction for virtually sleeping on the job as it accomplished but half of what it was supposed to finish by now.

    The P169-million flood control project at the San Fernando River, dubbed as Sagip Ilog by the city administration, covers rehabilitating some 5.26 kilometers of the San Fernando River so as to allow the freer flow of floodwaters out of the city.

    Philip Menez, project director for the flood control projects being undertaken by the Mt. Pinatubo Engineering-Project Management Office (MPO-PMO) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), revealed in a talk with the PamCham attended by Gov. Lilia “Nanay Baby” Pineda that R.D. Policarpio was the only “problematic contractor” assigned to project packages relative to the P4.6-billion flood-mitigating program for Pampanga.

    Menez said that China Water International Corp.  is on schedule in its work at the Porac-Gumain River diversion channel (P1.5 billion), the Tokwing Joint Venture in the construction of outlets and bridges at the San Fernando River (P491 million), and LRT Construction  in flood mitigation works in Guagua town (P183 million). Most of the projects are funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

    The failure of R.D. Policarpio to finish its job has raised the spectre of greater flooding in the city, a reality all too real to the Fernandinos, especially to the city’s flood czar, Engr. Marnie Castro, who advocated that aside from sanctions, the construction company be held liable and accountable for any losses flooding would cause in the city.

    Flooding is a serious matter of death and destruction, those tasked – and paid – to stem it and fail should be made to pay for their shortcomings.

    This is not the first time that R.D. Policarpio is put on the hot spot. In the aftermath of the Mount Pinatubo eruptions, R.D. Policarpio gained some  notoriety as part of the so-called “Pajero Gang” that reportedly cornered all the juicy contracts in the various failed engineering interventions against rampaging lahar flows that included the sabo dams, desilting of river channels and the diking systems.

    Indeed time to make this contractor fail for its disservice to, if not crimes against, the people of Pampanga.

    So what is happening to contractors here?

    Over the weekend, the residences of two “prominent” contractors in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Porac town were raided by the task group probing the June 2 massacre of businessman Jack Yap, his aide Dennis Guinto and Rene Tetangco, younger brother of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Armando Tetangco, Jr.

    The raid, conducted on the strength of search warrants issued by Executive Judge Ma. Angelica Paras-Quiambao of the Angeles City Regional Trial Court, yielded three unlicensed firearms: two pieces of caliber 22 rifle and a 16-gauge shotgun, as well as ammunition for the guns.

    No, our police sources said, contractors Remy Paras Chu and Bernie Alvarez Cruz, the owners of the raided houses, are not suspects in the so-called “TYG massacre.”

    So why the raid in their domiciles? Our source invoked his right to remain silent for fear of being himself silenced forever.

    Anyways, a contractor Chu and a contractor Cruz figured in some case for alleged land grabbing among siblings in Mabalacat a couple of years back. Chu being the sibling who allegedly managed to re-title the property to his name. Cruz being the alleged financier of the scheme. The case, so far as ace reporter Joey Pavia knows, is still in court. 

    Are these the same Chu and Cruz now – police sources say – facing cases of illegal possession of firearms?

    And this Cruz, is this the same contractor who plumes himself as the brain trust of the Honorable Senator Manuel Lapid? Leaves a lot to snicker there. Ha, ha, ha.

    Is this Cruz, likewise, the same contactor who served as sole endorser of the congressional candidacy of former Angeles City Councilor Ares Yabut who, over two months past Election Day, has yet to be dug out of the landslide of votes for Cong. Tarzan Lazatin?

    With contractors un-finishing public works critical to the safety of the communities, with contactors having caches of unlicensed firearms in their homes, the people of Pampanga well be afraid. Be very afraid. 


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