FAA OnLiNe

Sunday, December 11, 2005

SACKED

Intl airport engineers relieved over yawning slippage

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE gaping delay in the construction of the P6.2-billion new Iloilo international airport at Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara area has resulted to the sacking of the two engineers in charged of the project.
Last November 21, 2005, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Leandro Mendoza ordered the relief of Engrs. Raphael Lavides and Victor Andres as project manager and deputy project manager, respectively, of the New Iloilo Airport Development Project (Niadp).
Engrs. Roberto Jaime Salazar and Jose Nathaniel Caguimbal replaced Lavides and Andres.
Salazar was earlier assigned at the Silay international airport project in Negros Occidental.
According to reports, the Lavides and Andres got the boot for failure to arrest the continued slippage of the Niadp which has pushed the target completion of the project to 2007.
In the latest accomplishment report for September, the accumulated delay of the project is now at 57.31 percent to 59.32 percent or equivalent to 5.75 months.
The report was prepared by the Japan Airport Consultants, Inc. (JAC), Philippine JAC, Inc. and the Basic Technology and Management Corporation.
Rep. Rolex Suplico (5th district, Iloilo) said the September status of the project is worse compared to the August progress report.
In August, the consultants pegged the slippage at 55.60 percent to 57.44 percent.
“As I said before, the gap keeps on widening,” Suplico said.
Despite the catch up and amended catch up programs aimed at making for lost time, the slippage is still at 40.32 percent in August which then ballooned to 47.28 percent.
Aside from the proverbial “inclement weather” problems, the slow progress in the embankment or paving of the whole airport area is the main cause of the slippage.
Only 11,500 cubic meters of filling material was embanked on the runway area for the whole month of September, lesser compared to the 15,000 cubic meters of filling material delivered in August.
In the original program of works, the required amount of filling material is 10,000 cubic meters daily.
Even the supply of coarse aggregate remains a concern for the Japanese contractor Taisei-Shimizu Joint Venture (TSJV) as a bulk of the said filling material is brought from Rizal province in Luzon due to unsuitability of local quarry sources.
The consultants also noted the lack of skilled workers to work on the project.
The new airport is supposed to be finished in October 2006 but the slippage has forced the TSJV to propose a new completion period by the end of June 2007.
But the DOTC has yet to approve TSJV’s proposal.
Suplico said the delay is the main reason why Lavides and Andres were sacked.
“And I have faith in the new managers since the slippage in the Silay airport project when Salazar was in charge there,” Suplico said.
Suplico also reiterated his call to rescind the contract with TSJV. “It will now take a miracle for TSJV to finish the project by March 2006. It is now time to rescind the contract and get a more capable contractor. We should stop coddling TSJV.”
All politics
But Provincial Administrator Manuel Mejorada said the relief of Lavides and Andres is smack with politics
“Apparently, somebody from up there pressured the DOTC to relief the two project managers or else the department’s budget will be slashed. Lavides and Andres were victims of ugly politics over the airport project,” Mejorada said.
Mejorada said he only learned of the change in Niadp management last Friday when he stumbled upon the despedida party for Lavides and Andres sponsored by quarry contractors in the project. (Published in The Guardian, December 5, 2005 issue)

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