Kidapawan’s city engineer asked to shed light on street lighting project

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/02 June) —  The City Council here has asked the City Engineer to shed light on alterations in the program of works and program design of the P4.5 million street lighting project or face charges.

Councilor Lauro Taynan said he has long sought the explanation of Engineer Julito Hernandez, head of the City Engineering Office (CEO), about the modifications in the project.

Taynan said he invited Hernandez to attend the ‘question hour’ of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council, held every Thursday, but Hernandez was a no-show.

“Despite the memorandum order from the Mayor, the City Engineer still refused to be there.  He was always a no-show at the session.   For three times since last month, the  engineer did not appear during the question hour.  Hernandez’s non-appearance at the session is a big insult to us,” said Councilor Greg Yarra.

Taynan, as chair of the Sanggunian’s committee on Energy, wanted to know, in particular, why the CEO changed the type of street lamps from sodium lamps to led lights.

“In the original program of works, the CEO would purchase 250-watt sodium lamps.  But why did they change that into led lights without us knowing it?” Taynan asked.

Also, in the original plan, the steel posts that would be erected along the national highway numbered over a hundred but Tayman saw only 80 posts.

Funds for the street lighting project had come from the Department of Energy as the city government’s share from the revenues generated from hosting two geothermal power plants in Mt. Apo.

“We want transparency, not only in this project but in so many road concreting projects, Hernandez’ office had been implementing.  If the CEO still wouldrefuse to shed light on our queries, we would resort to legal means,” he said.

Hernandez claimed he received only one invitation from the Sanggunian on May 17 and that his non-appearance was “with a valid reason.”

“I was tasked to follow-up some important business transactions in Davao City but I furnished the Sanggunian copies of our reports or the documents that they needed,” he said.

When he learned there were second and third letters of invitation, the city engineer apologized to the members of the City Council. “I am sorry.   But in truth and in fact, I did not receive any of your invitations,” he said.

Hernandez maintained there are no anomalies in the street lighting project.

“Everything is in order.  I saw no irregularities in the project.  In fact, we’re doing everything to complete the project as scheduled,” he said. (Malu Manar/MindaNews)