NHA: Contractor of Zambo housing project liable for footbridge collapse
It was the contractor of the Zamboanga housing project that was principally responsible for the collapse of a wooden footbridge in Brgy. Rio Hondo, an official of the National Housing Authority (NHA) said on Wednesday.
When asked by Rep. Albee Benitez, chair of the House committee on housing and urban development, on who should be accountable for the footbridge collapse, Atty. John Mahamu, chief of staff of NHA, said the project had not yet been turned-over to them.
“It is the obligation of the contractor to check on the safeguards of the project because this is still under them,” Mahamu said during a House inquiry.
But he said the NHA was also “in a way” accountable for the incident.
Under questioning by Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Engr. Alhazen Sapie, technical consultant of Limestone Construction Development & Corporation based in Isabela province, admitted that the maintenance of the bridge was their responsibility.
“The company accepts full responsibility for that,” Sapie said.
“The company extend its sincerest offer on how to resolve their problem,” he also said.
Sapie confirmed that the housing project is already 95 percent complete and has not been turned-over to the NHA.
The walkway was built in 2016 as part of a P53-million NHA housing project for some 240 families affected by the 2013 Zamboanga City siege by Moro National Liberation Front rebels.
Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabel Climaco-Salazar said they had no choice but to allow those displaced by the Zamboanga siege to occupy the housing project ahead of its completion.
“We have transitory sites, they are living in inhumane conditions, there are reports of 344 deaths. The local government wants to transfer them or let them in inhumane conditions,” she said.
Atty. Chito M. Cruz, general manager of NHA when the project started in 2016, said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) approved the use of wood for the housing project.
The project originally proposed the use of concrete but mahogany and gmelina species of wood were later used due to budget constraints.
“Nung sinubmit nireview ng DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), sabi nila we need to strengthen the foundation, as a result, a bigger concrete foundation was approved, we went back to drawing boards and computed for cost of new design. It will cost around P520,000 per unit. Hindi po ma-cocover lahat ng requirement ng mga kababayan, we were supposed to construct 400 units,” he said.
“Ang na-aprubahan ay house on stilts using wood as the foundation of these houses,” he added.
Engr. Alkhwarzmi Indanan, project manager NHA Sulu district, said the type of wood used in the project has a lifespan of five years. /muf