By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
Residents of Brgy. Block 22 PHHC, Mandurriao, Iloilo City have only curses for the Iloilo City Engineer’s Office for the stench emitted by their wells, deep wells, to be more precise.
Water, or the loss of it, could spark wars in other countries. City Hall is just lucky that Block 22 PHHC residents have the patience to bear with negligence of the office of the city engineer.
For years, residents lived with the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) rationing water to Mandurriao residents. Communities at the PHHC, after all, have their wells for bathing, washing clothes and even drinking. Today, they completely depend on the water district for all their water needs because their ground water stinks. They have to stay late or wake up in the middle of the night to fill their buckets from the MIWD taps.
Ray G. Rico, a resident, articulates the ire of residents through his postings in the social network FaceBook replete with pictures of open drainage canals.
The city government allotted P1.5 to rehabilitate the drainage canals of the barangay.
To make the long story short, the winning bidder subcontracted the job and the subcontractor performed halfway. The city engineer’s people nevertheless, certified the project “completed”.
The canal does not work. It doesn’t drain. Water simply percolates and seeps down contaminating underground streams, in the process.
For all the misfortune of PHHC residents, they must be consoled by now because the substandard drainage and their contaminated wells are now “trending” in the social network. It continues to reach the attention of the public in the web, which means, it can also reach the entire world.
“Uncemented floor base and the walls are not finished. Damage has been done to my deep well, our source of water for bath, cleaning our CR/and wash clothes. But it now smells like shit! The engr’s office certified that it is now completed. Palpak! Please, ask who was the contractor? Almost all of the city projects are cornered by them. Calling the attention of the good mayor…Contractors are making money at the expense of the public,” reads one of Ray G. Rico’s postings.
A follower of the conversation thread, Pino Lim, comments: “To RGR…wake up…hehehe. This is how things are being done now by our gov’t…the elected officials pretend they don’t know it…this is where the educated, trained professionals hired by the government, paid by our public money get filthy rich…KURAKOT… of the 100% public funds allotted for the project, only 35% goes to the projectitself…the rest of the public funds…hummm you know where it goes…”
Another follower, Rafael Jardaleza II (Tibong, is that you?) writes: “%&&%& amon guid amon di iya was-agon nila ang imo damol nga kabilia kay may kay-uhon sila tapos uli-an sang gagmay nga kabilya. Reklamo ka sa kapitan man abno matulok lang. Ti ma-ano ka abi?”
More people are joining the thread. Columnist Manuel Mejorada notes: “Now the stink is spilling out of the pandora’s box. What has Jed Patrick Mabilog have to say about this?“ He adds that this anomaly is not the monopoly of Rico’s village as it happens elsewhere in Iloilo City.
Residents of Block 22, PHHC, Mandurriao must be feeling vindicated now that the substandard rehabilitation of their drainage canal hugs the limelight. As stated by Rico’s postings, the dramatis personae are not only the contractor and subcontractor.
Like Rico, residents are wondering because city hall did not coordinate with barangay officials in repairing the drainage canal. and the city engineer’s office certified to its completion.
To clean up a well, one has to pump its water out for hours until the fetid smell is gone. Once emptied of its deposit, he/she has to wait till it replenishes itself, which means, waiting for hours before pumping again.
PHHC residents know well why their drainage doesn’t work. They also know why the same contractors take turns cornering contracts. They also know that the entire process: from the public bidding, to the awarding of the contract, and to the completion, some palms at city hall are greased.
For example, to win the contract, a bidder must advance the SOP, or, in case of a rigged public bidding, compensate the “losing” bidders, all expenses charged against the project’s funding
Public projects are substandard because funds for them are skimmed off at every bureaucratic turn.