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Padilla grills DPWH
GO after those behind substandard public schools and infrastructure.
This was the call of Sen. Robinhood Padilla, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 to the leadership of the Department of Public Works and Highways after showing the sorry state of schools in Nueva Ecija affected by a recent typhoon.
At the Senate hearing on the DPWH budget for 2023, Padilla showed photos of a public school in Gapan, which was heavily damaged in the aftermath of Typhoon Karding last September.
Padilla noted that nearby houses were not as affected by the typhoon.
“Wala po ba tayong paraan para alamin kung ang materyal po nito ay substandard? Napaka imposible na ang bahay sa paligid niya na walang architect o engineer ay ayos . Pero dito lahat na talino nandoon dapata, ang galing, tingnan nio ang itsure,” yan ang tanong ko. Walang nag-check up nito kung ito po ba ay substandard (do we have any way to know if the materials used were substandard? It is impossible that nearby houses were not as affected as the school, which was suppose to have been designed by the best . Is there anyone checking them?) he asked.
“Look at the school’s roof, it’s as if Superman blew it off–it’s gone,” Padilla said.
When DPWH Sec. Manuel Bonoan said that the public projects have a one-year warranty where erring contractors may be blacklisted, Padilla jokingly asked: “Kung may mangyaring anomalya pwede silang sampal-sampalin (if we find anomalies, can we slap the wrongdoers)? he asked.
Bonoan agreed for his part that such cases must be investigated because it is a question mark that only one school was destroyed in the said area in which he assured that necessary action will be taken accordingly.
Padilla noted that the DPWH’s core functions include ensuring the safety of public infrastructures as the government’s engineering and construction arm.
For his part, Senator Francis Tolentino noted the Gapan school may not be an isolated case as he saw much-damaged infrastructure in Gen. Tinio and San Leonardo in Nueva Ecija a week after the typhoon hit. He advised the DEPWH to inspect these areas too.
Senator JV Ejercito added he got dizzy while riding a motorcycle along a portion of a newly concreted access road in Dasmarinas, Cavite because it felt like riding a wave.
Padilla who brought up the issue of substandard materials during the hearing insists that DPWH should monitor closely. Bonoan said his department will follow designs and standards in implementation under his watch.