NHA blames res­i­dents for foot­bridge col­lapse

The Philippine Star - - NATION - By DELON POR­CALLA

Af­ter blam­ing the con­trac­tor for the col­lapse of a wooden foot­bridge at a re­set­tle­ment site in Zam­boanga City last month, the Na­tional Hous­ing Author­ity (NHA) is point­ing to the res­i­dents as the cul­prits.

In a pa­per sub­mit­ted to Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Rep. Al­fredo Ben­itez, House com­mit­tee on hous­ing and ur­ban de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee chair­man, the NHA Zam­boanga of­fice said struc­tural com­po­nents of the foot­bridge, such as cross brac­ings, had been re­moved by some of the res­i­dents.

The House panel con­ducted an in­quiry af­ter Ben­itez, Zam­boanga City Rep. Celso Lo­bre­gat, Mayor Maria Is­abelle Cli­ma­coSalazar and lo­cal NHA of­fi­cials and their staff fell into murky wa­ter when the foot­bridge col­lapsed.

The NHA said the foot­bridge that gave way had no cross brac­ings.

“The other cross brac­ings were re­moved by par­ents to dis­cour­age their chil­dren from jump­ing into the sea dur­ing high tide... Other in­hab­i­tants re­moved the cross brac­ings to al­low ac­cess of their newly con­structed or re­paired boats,” the NHA pa­per read.

Al­hazen Sapie, tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant of the con­trac­tor of the project, said the de­sign of the foot­bridge should en­sure that it is strong for at least five years.

Sapie ad­mit­ted that the foot­bridge where the con­gress­men fell was only 95 per­cent com­plete.

Ako Bi­col party-list Rep. Rodel Ba­to­cabe said the NHA should have in­spected the bridge.

“The NHA should have pe­ri­od­i­cally in­spected the con­struc­tion be­cause tech­ni­cally, it is still not com­plete,” Ba­to­cabe said.

”You still have full con­trol and su­per­vi­sion of the project site. You still own the project until and un­less you are paid,” the law­maker told NHA of­fi­cials at a House hear­ing on Wed­nes­day.

The gov­ern­ment re­port­edly spent P12 mil­lion for the con­struc­tion of the foot­bridge.

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