Council tackles anew SP building structural defects PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 February 2011 17:15

The City Council yesterday once again tackled the controversial issue on the structural defects of the Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP) building as the councilors discussed the appropriation of P9.6 million for the repair of the edifice’s roof deck.

A heated discussion among members of the Council lasted for more than two hours with concern personalities like representatives from the Budget Office, PICE (Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers) Antonio Sta. Elena, Commission on Audit (COA) chief Mrs. Lirio, City Engineer Luis Vicente Despalo, Engineers Eduardo Catis and Raymond Go, both officers of the Los Contratistas de Zamboanga present in yesterday’s dialogue during the Council’s regular session.

During the deliberation, Sta. Elena, who also serves as the consultant of Mayor Celso Lobregat on infrastructure projects, said the structural engineer might be held liable and the contractor would not be free from any liabilities if proven through physical evidence. The multi-million worth SP building was constructed by a local construction firm — Bendimil Construction.

Despalo has consistently been telling the public that the SP building is still safe and sound despite its minor defects.

But while telling so, he has also been consistently quoted to have said that an immediate repair must be done to avoid further damage on the physical condition of the edifice.
When interpolated by Councilor Rommel Agan, Despalo admitted that after learning of the defects, he immediately informed Bendimil Construction through a letter urging them (Bendimil) to possibly introduce improvement while the building still under the warranty period.

Unfortunately, Despalo said the contractor, through its President Edmon Dimaano, refused to do so saying that he was just following the structural design done by the structural engineers of the CEO.
“If Engineer Despalo has been telling us that the building is safe and sound, why is it that City Hall is in a hurry of passing the appropriation ordinance for its immediate repair?” Agan asked as he further asked Despalo on the responsibility of the contractor after seeing the defects while the building was still under construction.

“I properly informed the contractor of the defects. Many letters have been sent to Bendimil and their replies have been carefully studied by the legal office,” Despalo replied.

Despalo further explained that except for the defective rooftop, other portions of the building remain intact “and the entire building is still safe for occupancy.”
Agan asked the same question to Engineer Sta. Elena who said that the contractor may or may not inform the local government unit or the City Engineer’s Office about the structural defect but “if he is in his sound mind, he should inform the concern agencies about the defects.”
As to approval of the budget for its repair, Mrs. Lirio of COA made it clear that the appropriation lies on the prerogative of the management while their job would only come after its implementation for proper auditing.
“We are not in the position to determine if the proposed budget is allowable or not. Disallowance will only be determined later if it does not conform with the existing rules,” Lirio said. — Jimmy Villaflores