BAGUIO CITY – More or less 200 electric poles that allegedly serve as obstructions along national roads have been identified by the Department of Public Works and Highways – Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO) to be relocated pursuant to a joint circular from the DPWH and the Department of Energy (DOE).
DPWH-BCDEO District Engineer Rene Zarate said number of electric poles to be relocated might increase depending on the results of the on-going validation being conducted by representatives of concerned government agencies, the local government and the involved public utility companies like the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) and other cable companies that attach their cables to the said electric poles.
“We are elated over the active involvement of the public utility and cable companies to the proposed relocation of electric poles that serve as obstructions along national roads around the city because we really need to clear our roads from obstructions to guarantee the convenient travel of motorists to the different parts of the city,” Zarate stressed.
Earlier, the DPWH central office released to the BCDEO some P13.6 million from the agency’s right-of-way fund to facilitate the immediate relocation of identified electric poles, pursuant to a joint DPWH-DOE circular that mandates the DPWH pay the labor and cost of materials for the transfer of the electric poles obstructing national roads around the city.
According to Engr. Zarate, there is also a need to re-compute the project cost submitted to the agency by BENECO since the depreciation cost of the poles and other factors must be considered in determining the final estimates of how much fund is needed for the relocation of the electric poles.
The DPWH-BCDEO official expressed confidence that the technical personnel of the involved agencies and the public utility and cable companies will be able to produce the appropriate data so the project could be implemented before the end of the year.
Zarate claimed there has been a consistent clamor, not only from local and barangay officials but also concerned residents around the city, for the immediate relocation of the electric poles that serve as obstructions along national roads in the city.
However, the relocation has not been done for quite some time because the DPWH-BCDEO had no available funds earmarked for such purpose, aside from the fact that there is no item in the various public works contracts that provide funds for the relocation of the electric poles that serve as obstructions along national roads citywide.
Zarate appealed to the public for understanding the delayed transfer of the electric poles to better areas outside the road-right-of-way of national roads because the agency is doing its best to work out whatever available remedies, in coordination with the public utility and cable companies, so obstructions along national roads will be significantly reduced in the next several months.
By Dexter A. See