Funds spent, but road repair missing

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ZAMBOANGA CITY—In Barangay (village) Putik here, officials have heard of P9 million in public funds being spent in 2012 for a road repair project in their village through the pork barrel of former Rep. Erico Basilio Fabian (second district, Zamboanga City).

The problem is they can’t find where the road repair project is.

Fabian, in an interview, said he has brought a total of P40 million in projects through his pork barrel to his constituents. These were “hard,” he said, meaning they were infrastructure projects.

The congressman protested insinuations of wrongdoing, saying “all the funding went to the recipients.”

If there is any project that could not be accounted for, he said, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) “should be asked to explain.”

Officials of Barangay Putik, asked to help the Inquirer locate Fabian’s projects in the village, sounded incredulous when informed that P9 million in road repair projects were supposed to have been implemented in their village.

Jerry Perez, Barangay Putik chair, and Edgardo Rosagaron, village councilor, answered the Inquirer’s queries with more questions.

“Are you sure these were road repairs and rehab? Road repair and rehabilitation are supposedly barangay projects and not for implementation by the national or city governments,” Perez said.

He said road rehabilitation projects in the villages are funded by the barangay and not by any agency or office.

Councilor Rosagaron said “there were no road repair projects for 2012” in the village.

A project for the repair of a 20-meter section of the road in Sitio Caputatan, where this correspondent lives, is nowhere to be found.

Rosagaron said a P5-million road construction project is ongoing in Evangelista Drive, which is a totally different project from those listed as having been funded by Fabian’s pork.

Rosagaron said another project in the village stands out like a sore thumb in the area—a bridge in Sitio Sto. Niño that was left unfinished four years after construction started.

Merham Acas, former DPWH district engineer in Zamboanga City and now district engineer in Zamboanga Sibugay, said he is unaware of the bridge project in Barangay Putik when he was still Zamboanga City engineer.

A bridge was supposed to have been built in Sitio Caputatan instead, he said.

He said the bridge and a farm-to-market road received a fresh allocation of P9 million in 2012 but the DPWH was not able to finish these due to right-of-way problems.

Village Chair Perez said several residents had sued the contractor for the unfinished projects. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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