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House panel to probe Zambo housing project after wooden bridge’s collapse

/ 02:27 PM May 03, 2018
bridge collapse

BRIDGE FALLS DOWN Representatives Abelardo Benitez (in striped shirt) and Celso Lobregat, Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and other officials clamber up the footbridge that collapsed into murky water. The bridge leads to the relocation site at Sitio Hongkong in Barangay Rio Hondo. —PHOTO COURTESY OF RMN ZAMBOANGA

The House committee on housing and urban development is set to launch a probe into the questionable housing project in Zamboanga City after Rep. Alfredo Benitez bared that the wooden bridge in the area that collapsed last week costs P12 million.

Last Thursday, Benitez, along with Rep. Celso Lobregat, Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, and several officials from the National Housing Authority (NHA) personally experienced a poorly built government project when the wooden bridge they were on suddenly collapsed.

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They fell into the murky waist-deep water and most of them sustained minor scratches and bruises.

READ: Footbridge breaks apart

In a media forum on Thursday, Benitez bared that the wooden bridge leading to the NHA housing project in Brgy. Rio Hondo costs P12 million.

“‘Yung wooden bridge may cost na P12 million. Isa po ito sa  magiging subject ng ating investigation,” he said.

(The wooden bridge costs P12 million. It will be one of the subjects in our investigation.)

In an earlier report by the Inquirer, Rasdie Mukarram, barangay chair of Rio Hondo, said the walkway was built in 2016 as part of a P53-million NHA housing project for some 240 families affected by the siege of Moro National Liberation Front rebels.

Mukarram said that last year, the village replaced the foundations because the original posts had rotted.

Another subject of the Congressional inquiry to be launched by Benitez’ committee would be the “questionable” cost of units in the housing project.

“Ito ang gusto kong malaman. Ordinarily ang isang housing unit na tinatayo ng NHA sa lupa at semento umaabot ng P240,000 per unit. Dito po sa housing on stilts na ininspection natin ang cost niya ay P220,000 per unit na medyo sa tingin ko mukhang hindi proportional ‘yung materyales na ginamit dun sa cost. Isa yan sa titignan natin,” the lawmaker said.

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(This is what I want to find out. Ordinarily, a housing unit built by the NHA on land and cement will cost P240,000 per unit. The housing on stilts which we inspected costs P220,000 per unit, and I think the materials used aren’t proportional to the cost. This will be one of things we’ll look into.)

He added that the materials used to build the footbridge was the same materials used to erect the houses there.

“Kaya hindi na ho ko magtataka kung pati ‘yung mga bahay gumuho (I wouldn’t be surprised if even the houses collapse),” he lamented.

Benitez said they would schedule the hearing once sessions resume on May 15. /je

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TAGS: collapse, housing project, investigation, Probe, wooden bridge, Zamboanga City
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