During an inspection in one of the housing projects of the National Housing Authority (NHA), over a dozen were hurt when a wooden bridge in one of the neighborhoods in Zamboanga City collapsed last April 26. Among those who got hurt in the incident were Representatives Albee Benitez and Celso Lobregat, who were with their staff; Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar, and members of the National Housing Authority (NHA). They were on their way to inspect the government housing facility in Rio Hondo village when a part of the bridge collapsed. People fell into the filthy river below the bridge with the soldiers escorting the group immediately after the incident.
The Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction or Z3R Housing Project was designed to give decent homes to those poor residents who were greatly victimized during the 2013 Zamboanga siege. The team was about to inspect the project built by NHA contractors after they received reclaims saying there are cracks in the walls and allegation of poor quality used in the construction of the houses.
In an interview with dzRH’s anchors Henry Uri and Angelo Palmores, Metro Stonerich Corporation Engineer Bong Nuno claimed that he is one of the contractors tapped by the NHA in 2014 to construct the Z3R permanent housing for the Zamboanga siege victims. Nuno was assigned to develop the 200 houses in Barangay Taluksangay, which happens to be the first project to finish and served as a model house for other contractors of the said project. However, despite recommendations of using concrete for the housing project, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) pushed through the usage of Gemelina wood, since the Samal Badjao people mostly used the kind of wood in making their own house.
“I am just sensitive because I am a Muslim myself”, said Nuno during the interview.
The recent incident of the bridge that collapsed in one of the communities in Zamboanga was not under Nuno’s construction firm. He clarified during the interview that it is under a different contractor whose name he is not familiar. “Hindi ako sure pero kasi katunog ng sa amin yung pangalan nila, parang Lime Stone ata iyon, I am not sure”, Nuno clarified. He also disclosed that the total cost of their project in his distinct Brgy. mounted at least Php 1-million, including the wooden bridge that wasn’t part of their blueprint from the beginning. The houses that their construction firm built was still standing for almost 3 years, though Nuno claimed that it will not last forever but they still continually monitor the area in case of defaults.
Nuno’s stand on the issue of the Php 12-million worth bridge that collapsed during the inspection was “dapat Bakawan Wood or hard wood ang ginamit kasi hindi lang naman siya footbridge, dinadaanan din ng mga motor yun everyday. Eh kaso mukhang Gmelina wood ang ginamit”. He also shared how the NHA monitored their projects almost every day, claiming that the problem should not only blame the contractors but how did the process of accreditation take place in the said area.
“Pag tama ang gawa at masinsin ang distance magiging matibay naman, minsan nasa process ng gawa yan kasi baka may kulang sa materyales“, Nuno articulated.
The wooden bridge that collapsed valued a total of Php 12-million and stands for just a year, compared to Nuno’s constructions that is only worth Php 1-million and is standing for almost 3 years already.
The government is still under investigation on whose liability the said project for the victims of Zamboanga siege.