ANGELES CITY– Inefficiencies in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have caused delays in projects that this city’s Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan’s wants finished in time for the Asia-Pacifi c Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here in January next year.
This, even as Pamintuan announced plans to open the gates of private subdivisions to all motorists to ease traffic congestion in areas affected by projects in various parts of the city, particularly along the MacArthur Highway in commercial Barangay Balibago towards Clark Freeport which is the venue for the APEC event.
In a press briefing here, Pamintuan cited delays in the completion of the P60-million Pandan-Magalang Road upgrading arising from the failure of the DPWH to inform his office on right-of-way problems.
He noted that a notice to proceed with the project was issued way back in May last year, but work on it did not start immediately. “It was only when I inquired about the delays in the project that I was told by DPWH officials the city government was supposed to provide funds for right-of-way cost,” he lamented.
Pamintuan also learned that part of the road project could not be immediately started because of the failure of the DENR to issue permits for the cutting of some trees blocking the project.
“When I confronted DENR officials about this, I learned that agreement between the city government and the agency could not be found and apparently was shelved after a change in the agency’s regional director,” he said.
Pamintuan lamented that officials of the DENR and DPWH blamed each other for delays in the project. He also asked the public to bear with some traffic inconveniences amid the delays as well as the construction rush in various parts of this city. “In the end, we will have a better city for all, not just for APEC,” he said.
Open subdivision roads
“Signages will be ready for motorists to ease traffic. We will open the gates of subdivisions such as L and S, Diamond, Ceferina 1 and 2, Villa Teresa to traffic while the projects remain unfinished. Most of the roads in these subdivisions have already been turned over to the local government anyway,” he noted.
The projects being rushed here would cost a total of about P326.1 million. Pamintuan said the projects under the DPWH include the upgrading of the Pandan- Magalang Road costing P60 million, the Mac-Arthur Highway in the Balibago commercial district costing P41.5 million, the Friendship Road costing P60 million, and the widening and upgrade of the drainage system along Don Bonifacio Road costing P19 million.
Footbridges across busy roads are also underway, including one costing P22 million in front of the Chevalier School near the boundary of Angeles and the capital city of San Fernando. Another footbridge is being eyed across the highway in Balibago district in front of Systems Plus School.
Pamintuan said the APEC conference will be held at the Clark Freeport in January 2015, with most of the delegates
expected to be billeted in hotels in the city.
Heritage district On top of the DPWH projects, Joy Cruz, administrator of the Angeles Heritage District Committee, said the city government has allocated P18.6 million for a park to be called Plaza Angel in the vicinity of the Sto. Rosario Parish Church where the historic Pamintuan Mansion is located.
It was in the mansion where Emilio Aguinaldo marked the fi rst anniversary of Philippine Independence in 1899. A creek in the area will be covered with concrete slabs to allow for a bigger grass-covered promenading area adorned with trellises of the “culiat” plant, which this city was originally named after.
Telecommunication firms have complied with Pamintuan’s request to remove unsightly “spaghetti cables” hanging from posts in the heritage district. “We will go underground, just like in Europe,” said Pamintuan who recently arrived from a trip to Barcelona, Spain.
Pamintuan also said the CDC has belatedly promised to fi nally work on a new P15-million rotunda at the Bayanihan Park at the Clark Freeport’s main gate.
Pamintuan also noted that the projects timed for the APEC conference also included the P90-million street lighting, stretching several kilometers from Friendship Road along the perimeter fence of Clark up to MacArthur Highway through San Fernando; and the reactivation of at least three traffic lights in various parts of the city.