DPWH engineers blamed for infrastructure cost overrunsBy Gil Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Project engineers of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should share the blame for cost overruns incurred in the construction of bridges and other infrastructure projects.
Oriental Mindoro Representative Rodolfo G. Valencia said that unilateral decisions by DPWH engineers to veer away from the original design has been the one of the main culprits for the bloated prices of some of the bridges built under the Arroyo administration.
Valencia cited as an example the P112.5 million Abaton-Maidlang II Bridge in Calapan City which ended up costing double its original budget after the DPWH project engineer decided not to follow the design and engineering plans.
Valencia said that due to its flawed design, the same bridge collapsed just after five years of use. He noted that the bridge was so badly built that the DPWH decided to build a new one than repair it.
By forcing project engineers to take full responsibility of any design change, Valencia said these officials would think twice before tweaking the project designs of bridges and other infrastructure projects just to accommodate their preferred contractors or suppliers.
The delays and design changes have cost the government over P10 billion in excess expenses for bridges in the last three years ranging from five to 86.6 percent of the original costs based on a report by the Commission on Audit.