P. Princesa engineer charged over flawed drainage

Flood in Puerto Princesa. (PNA)

By Andrio Atienza

A construction company has filed criminal and administrative complaints against the Puerto Princesa City engineer before the Ombudsman for allegedly failing to build a drainage system within its property as required under the local government’s flood control master plan.

Mercy de Vera Pua, representative and president of Falcon Crest Construction and Development Corporation, charged Engr. Alberto Jimenez with violation of the law on anti-graft and corrupt practices.

Pua claimed that flooding in the city during heavy downpours was due to poor drainage and canal system caused by the negligence of Jimenez.

In the second quarter of 2018, Falcon Crest applied for a building, sanitary and electrical permits with the office of the Building Official headed by Jimenez for the construction of one-storey building on the company’s 2.1-hectare property in Purok Masagana, Barangay San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City .

“The Corporation’s building permit application, however, was never approved because Jimenez is insisting the corporation should consent to the segregation of a certain portion of the corporation’s property, and should allow the construction of a drainage system within the property,” Pua said.

Jimenez even requested the City Legal Officer of Puerto Princesa to draft the agreement captioned as Easement of Waterway that “would oblige me and the Corporation to comply with his condition,” according to Pua.

“It is noteworthy that the Agreement requires the Corporation to segregate a portion of private land for the drainage system of the City, but does not oblige the City government to pay us the legally mandated just compensation,” Pua said.

Based on record, the city government has a master plan, being classified as a highly-urbanized city (HUC) called as the “Puerto Princesa City Urban Drainage & Flood Control Project Master Plan Study and Detailed Design”.

On September 2014, the city government contracted DCCD Engineering Corporation to draw design of the Master Plan which the city government paid for P5 million. But the Master Plan was not followed by the City Engineering office of Puerto Princesa.

Pua said after receiving the Master Plan, they studied the detailed location of the drainage system surrounding their land.

“We immediately noticed that the drainage does not pass through inside, but only along the area bounding the road of our lot,” Pua said.

Pua said they decided to ask Geodetic Engineer Marion Eligar Luengco to plot the land in conjunction with the drainage system contained in the Master Plan. Luengco confirmed that the drainage system was not intended to pass through their land but on the other area.

Pua said Jimenez issued building permits allowing constructions located over the areas where the drainage system was intended to be constructed that would avoid eventual flooding.

“These recent construction projects consist of 11 building made by Total Philippines Corporation, Gerald Tan, Lorenzo Leoncio, Jaime K. Nadurata, and Palawan Global Ventures Inc., Jimenez gave preference by issuing them building permits, without requiring them to segregate a portion of their properties for the drainage system as prescribed by the master plan,” Pua said.

Pua said they should not be blamed by the public because it was the negligence by the city engineer for failure to follow the master plan of the drainage system when heavy monsoon rain pours.

Baranggay San Manuel is a national highway where subdivisions are located, aside from the San Jose public market that is not passable when flooded affecting schools and work.

p: wjg