Poe seeks ‘full assessment’ of Estrella-Pantaleon bridge rehab
MANILA, Philippines — To prevent a possible anomaly, Senator Grace Poe has asked the Senate to conduct a “full assessment” of the planned rehabilitation of the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge.
In a statement on Tuesday, Poe said the selection of a previously banned Chinese contractor as well as the cost and the length of time of the construction of the bridge are “recipes for anomalies to happen.”
According to the plan, the bridge that connects the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong will be closed to motorists for 30 months starting January 19.
Poe has been strongly objecting to the rehab as this would inconvenience motorists. The project contractor, the China Communications and Construction Corp, was also banned by the World Bank for fraudulent practices.
Poe reiterated her objection when she interpellated the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highway (DWPH) during Senate floor deliberations Monday.
The DPWH, however, rejected her appeal to reconsider the plan.
Shortly after her interpellation, Poe filed Senate Resolution No. 98, urging the Senate committees on public services and public works to conduct a full assessment of the planned closure and rehabilitation of the bridge.
This, she said, was aimed at “revisiting the merits of replacing a ‘perfectly-working bridge even amid allegations that such will not bring relief to motorists for the ultimate benefit of protecting the public.”
“There is no clear, effective traffic mitigation plan during the 30-months closure, which is seen to coincide with the scheduled rehabilitation of the Guadalupe Bridge,” Poe said in the resolution.
“It is unclear how the proposed widening to a 4-lane bridge will increase the road network capacity when both ends of the bridge lead to two-lane roads,” she further said.
Based on the “approach” the agencies used in implementing the project, Poe said she got the impression that the closure and rehabilitation of bridge are being done without “proper studies” and “for the sake of doing something with the grant rather as part of a clear plan to create an efficient road network.”
The P1.2-billion fund for the rehab of the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge was a grant from China.
“There is a need to closely scrutinize the plan of our government agencies with respect to public infrastructure to give due consideration to the motorists and residents in the affected areas,” Poe stressed. /ee
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