October 1, 2007
CONTRACTORS OF COLLAPSED VIETNAM
Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. today exposed that the contractors of the collapsed bridge in Southern Vietnam are among winning bidders in one of the infrastructure projects mentioned by President Gloria Arroyo in her recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The senator expressed concern that Japanese contractors Taisei Corporation, Kajima Corporation and Nippon Steel Engineering Company Limited are also among the contractors of the P21-billlion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Express Road (SCTEX).
It was learned that Package 2 of the said SONA project- the 43.27 km. roadway Clark to Tarlac section- is being constructed by Hazama-Taisei-Nippon Steel Joint Venture (HTN) which reportedly sought a 54-day extension, beginning Aug. 18, to finish the said portion.
HTN, according to its contract, is supposed to finish that segment by Aug. 30.
On the other hand, construction of Package 1 or the Subic-Clark section was given to Kajima-Obayashi-JFE Engineering and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Joint Venture (KOJM) and was allowed by the President in July to get a four-month extension up to March 2008 at no direct cost to the Philippine government.
"There are reports that the delay of the completion of the project is caused by correction of defects including improper design of slope protection and the contractors resort to improper ways of repairing of damages. If these are true, then they are sacrificing quality and safety," said Revilla, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works.
Just like the under construction bridge in Southern Vietnam which killed 60 people and injured about 100 last Wednesday (September 26), the construction of SCTEX is being funded by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Taisei Corporation, Kajima Corporation and Nippon Steel Engineering Company Limited were named as among its contractors.
Revilla stressed that the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) must see to it that SCTEX will be completed according to world-class standards just as it was been publicized.
"We will be a laughing stock of the international community if there will be a similar accident on the SCTEX or if later we would discover defects and usage of sub-standard materials. The collapse of the bridge in Southern Vietnam which is still under-construction may mean that there's something wrong in its design or materials used," he explained.
He also urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to direct the Bureau of Construction to double-check the construction of the SCTEX.
"There must be a thorough monitoring and inspection of the SCTEX to make it sure that it will really be a world-class infrastructure. We must check its safety before we finally open it for the public," he pointed out.
The lawmaker earlier filed a Senate Resolution No. 88 that seeks a senate inquiry on the status of 23 major bridges in Metro Manila prioritized for reconstruction and rehabilitation this year. This includes the controversial Tullahan Bridge . On an on-site inspection, he discovered that the foundations for the said "death trap" bridge were not buried deep enough contrary to project specifications.
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