DEFECTIVE FLYOVER. The Ungka flyover straddling Iloilo City and the municipality of Pavia remains closed to traffic due to structural defects. Senator Imee Marcos, in a press conference on Sunday afternoon (May 28, 2023), said she will support a Senate inquiry on the project. (PNA photo by PGLena)

ILOILO CITY – Senator Imee Marcos will support an inquiry on the defective PHP680-million flyover project connecting Iloilo City and the municipality of Pavia.

The senator was in Iloilo on Sunday for the inauguration of the Asia-Pacific Medical Center in this city's Jaro district and distribution of assistance to 3,000 individuals in crisis situations.

"It's very apparent that the bridge was very badly constructed and has to be looked into," Marcos said during a press conference.

The senator said it has been a while since she visited Iloilo but has heard about the "infamous bridge."

Marcos added that she is aware of the investigation that was conducted by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), results of which will be shared with the Senate.

One concern, she said, was the huge amount needed for the repair, costing at least PHP250 million.

"I am hopeful that they will come to some cheaper arrangement but really, people have to be accountable and heads must roll," she said.

Last week, the Sangguniang Bayan of Pavia passed a resolution appealing to the Senate for an investigation in aid of legislation and to determine the accountability and culpability of the persons involved.

The resolution stated that all 16 piers of the 453.7-lineal-meter flyover have suffered vertical displacement, based on the geotechnical investigation of the DPWH third-party consultant.

The result was presented before the special meeting of the Infrastructure Development Committee of the Regional Development Council on May 15.

"Government funds have been used to build this gargantuan project to supposedly ease the traffic in the Ungka, Pavia area, yet up to now the said infrastructure remains a decorative white elephant which poses safety concerns to people who traverse underneath the flyover," the resolution stated.

The flyover was fully opened to the public on Sept. 5, 2022, after its completion in March of the same year.

However, it has been closed to traffic since Sept. 18 following complaints of apparent defects in the structure.

DSWD aid

Marcos’ office also facilitated the release of PHP3,000 in cash for each beneficiary of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The multi-sectoral recipients are from the municipalities of Pototan and Janiuay, and Passi City, comprised of students, market vendors, women’s groups, and members of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or another diverse gender identity) community, among others.

“It is no secret that our farmers are beleaguered by so many problems with the high prices of diesel, gasoline, fertilizer, and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) as well as other household goods. So it is important to help them,” she said in a press conference after the distribution at Janiuay Dome.

“Hopefully we can reach out to the others as well and we can sort out at the soonest possible time the other assistance required.”

She also called on local government units to help in the updating of the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture by removing from the list those who are no longer into farming.

“Iloilo is in the top 5 of rice-producing provinces and I understand that until now the financial assistance for rice farmers under the Rice Tariffication has not been handed out completely,” she said, referring to the PHP5,000 cash aid.

Republic Act 8178 or the Rice Tariffication law, signed in 2019, reduces the price of rice and assist farmers affected by the removal of quantitative restrictions on imported rice. (PNA)