Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia yesterday expressed concern that the halt to the rehabilitation of Buri Road in Brgy. Mandalagan, Bacolod City, may result in the loss of the funds intended for the project.
“Like many of you, I am very frustrated by the needless and baseless order of Mayor Monico Puentevella to stop the work on the reconstruction and improvement of Buri Road (Honorata G. Manalo),” he said in an open letter addressed to the people of Bacolod “especially those in Mandalagan and those who use the Buri Road.”
This is tragic, Leonardia said. “We had worked so hard to bring major infra projects to our city and now that funds are being given to us, we have an obstructionist mayor spoiling development. It is revolting to think that these projects are grants from the national government and will not cost the city a single centavo but because of petty politics, we might lose hundreds of millions,” he said.
Leonardia said they have envisioned the P110-million Buri Road project as an important and integral part of the future network of highways that will prepare Bacolod for the growth and development she deserves.
“It is not just its tourism value, as it connects our airport with our seaports, as well as our two major highways (Lacson Street and the Circumferential Road) but it also serves our residents in Mountainview, Estancia, Camella and many puroks in Barangay Mandalagan,” he said.
Unfortunately, we have a mayor who can only look at it from his myopic political eyesight, perceiving it as political points for me and should therefore be stopped, Leonardia said.
This is the same mayor who blocked the construction of the P350-million proposed flyover at the Lopue's East junction in spite of the very obvious need in what is probably our busiest and most congested traffic area. Again, it's politics, he said.
Leonardia said Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez in his Aug. 17, 2015 letter to him said, “delay (in) the project implementation might result in the reversion of the funds, if not utilized, to the DBM.” We therefore have a threat here, he said.
He has requested the Department of Public Works and Highways and the contractor to fast track the implementation of the project because he is very conscious of the inconvenience that road construction can cause to the people, Leonardia said.
But here comes a mayor who wants "immediate stoppage of the road rehabilitation works" because of an alleged "protocol" breach.
Just because his ego was bruised, will our people have to prolong their agony over this road construction? And what will happen when emergencies come and the Our Lady of Mercy Hospital is not easily accessible? Leonardia asked.
With nothing to show in terms of road development and public works, the mayor spends his energies stopping the congressman's projects, he said.
“But then again, I have long stopped trying to catch the logic in Puentevella's public service record. There is none,” Leonardia said.
Whatever the issues and circumstances though, he assures the public that he will do everything he could possibly do to pursue this Buri Road to its completion as a 4-lane world-class highway with drainage and sidewalks, Leonardia added.
Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Public Works, said he will recommend to the mayor to continue with the implementation of the project so it can be completed as soon as possible.
He clarified, however, that Puentevella's intention in ordering the temporary stoppage of the project was to clear the issues surrounding it.*CGS
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