SABLAN, Benguet – The contractor of a multi-million road opening project in barangay Camog here called on municipal and barangay officials and residents for their utmost cooperation to allow the immediate completion of the programmed works for the said project instead of fabricating unfounded, unfair and baseless allegations that will paint a bad image of the company from the perception of the public.
Victorino Balaodan, general manager of KBC Construction, pointed out that it is not true that the ongoing road project in barangay Camog is flawed, saying that it just so happened that there had been various portions of the road section where his works are situated that were affected by the previous continuous rains that visited the locality but the same were already restored.
He claimed that one of the major problems that delay the implementation of the programmed road opening, road widening, gravelling and slope protection works is the road-right-of-way problems that remain to be settled by the public works department since the same is not part of the programmed works.
However, Balaodan commended 2 property owners in the area who hail from Mountain Province and Kibungan, Benguet who voluntarily allowed some portions of their lands to be taken by the ongoing road widening works without demanding for compensation where the same must also be emulated by other residents of the places that will be traversed by the said project.
The 184 million road opening in barangay Camog is part of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) development project of the outer circumferential ring, particularly the construction of missing links/new roads, BLISTT, Camog junction-Calot-Pappa-Bagong-Baluay-Tuel junction section 2 of the BLISTT outer ring circumferential road. It is a joint venture project of KBC Construction and Fiat Construction Services.
Balaodan pointed out that the approved works include road opening, road widening, installation of box culverts, gravelling and construction of slope protection walls within the stretch of the project.
“We are going out of our way to help in the works being requested by the residents which are outside of the scope of work just to ensure that we will have a harmonious relationship with them. We are also doing our best to reach out to concerned sectors to address their concerns,” Balaodan stressed.
He disclosed that he even appeared before one of the regular meetings of the municipal council and was able to satisfactorily respond to the questions of the members on issues and concerns of the project.
The KBC proprietor admitted that the delays in the completion of works which were within their control such as the source of boulders for the slope protection and gravel had already been addressed although it took sometime to secure a quarry permit from the nearby town of Bagulin, La Union.
On the other hand, he explained that there are also other factors that have contributed in the delays of the project such as the unsettled road-right-of-way with the affected residents that is why what they are now doing is to skip the works in the areas where there is difficulty in resolving the right-of-way with the concerned residents.
According to him, municipal and barangay officials must come into the picture to help in convincing their constituents with right-of-way claims along the project site to allow some portions of their properties to be taken as part of the road to ensure that the width of the road that will be widened will be pursuant to established standards.
Balaodan also underscored gravelling works cannot be done if the prescribed width of the road will not be met due to the existence of right-of-way claims by the property owners in the area which is why it is unfair for some sectors to allege the project is already defective.
The KBC official emphasized that another problem being encountered by the workers in the area is the gravel that was already placed along some widened portions of the road were washed away by the strong water flowing downstream which is already a loss on their part because of the need to repeat the work.
He admitted the regional office of the public works department gave him until the end of the year to complete the remaining uncompleted works because whatever unfinished works will not be paid. It will only be the accomplished works of the contractor which will be billed, assessed and paid while the balance of the funds will be reverted to the general fund pursuant to the ongoing implementation of the cash-based budgeting.
Balaodan appealed to concerned sectors to help in convincing the property owners in the area to allow some portions of their properties to be taken for the road that will be beneficial to them and the public in the future and there is no need for them to demand for payment that is no longer within the project funds just to allow the contractor to take portions of their lands.