Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said he has requested the Department of Public Works and Highways to suspend the asphalt overlay project along Lacson Street in Bacolod City since he believes there is no apparent cause for major repairs in the area.
Leonardia said he wrote acting DPWH-Bacolod Engineer Reynaldo Venturina as a follow-up of the meeting with the DPWH engineer Arturo Badajos last week when the issue exploded.
He was informed that there is another budget to overlay portions of Lacson Street so he called Venturina and Badajos, asking if they can stop the implementation of the project and if they can sit down for a longer evaluation and discussion, he said.
Leonardia said Lacson Street has been in existence for decades and has proven its durability. Likewise, it is a part of the major road network that serves as the entrance to the city for people coming from the Bacolod-Silay airport and northern parts of the province and used to be a source of pride of the city since the lighter colored cemented roads looks cleaner and more orderly.
The road quality of the “tourism strip” has contributed much to the business environment in the area. They have received feedback, even from taxi drivers, that the road has become dark at night, he said.
“The way we see it, they may have used resources where they are not needed,” he added.
Leonardia said they do not oppose projects of the DPWH, but one of their primordial concerns is the prudent use of funds for the right priorities. “We feel this is a case of a wrong sense of priorities, because there are other areas that need repairs and we cannot afford to waste government funds,” he said.
Part of Lacson Street is prone to flooding because the drainage system in the area is outmoded and inadequate, Leonardia said. If the P10 million for the asphalt overlay is used for the drainage system, maybe the money would be put to good use, he said. Even the Social Security System has complained to DPWH about the drainage in Lacson Street, he added.
Leonardia said they have seen the disastrous results of the asphalt overlay that was done along San Juan street in Barangays 1 and 2 about two years ago. There are now many potholes in what was once a pothole- free area, he said.
“We are afraid that Lacson Street might meet the same fate, so that what used to be a smooth ride in that street for decades now, in a matter of months might also become problematic,” Leonardia said..
“With that, we are asking the DPWH to suspend the implementation of the asphalt overlay along Lacson until our offices are able to resolve the issues surrounding the project. We also suggested to them that there should be a continuing coordination on the identification of the development projects of DPWH and the city,” he said.
At the same time, there are some portions of the streets in Bacolod where they have problems but they have funding for these and they are due for implementation, Leonardia added.
Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez, meanwhile, said the asphalt overlay is a preventive maintenance work and is done all over the world. He said he only heard one person complaining about it while other people appreciate it. He has no time to talk about it because he has a lot of work to do, he added.
On the other hand, Golez said that according to the DPWH, the road repair project covering Pahanocoy to Sum-ag already has a notice to proceed from the contractor. So the repair will start anytime this month or in July, he said.
Golez said the project has a budget of about P300 million from the World Bank so it must go through the process since they want to be transparent as much as possible.*CGS