In celebration of Women’s month, Construction and Supervision Engr. Fe Batilona of Zamboanga del Norte beams in front of the laborers constructing the line ditch canal along Galingon stretch.

“As a quality controller, we follow technical specifications – word for word. In this case, the expected life span of the project is attained.”

The strong-willed veteran lady engineer Fe Batilona of Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Engineering Office bares her job heading the male-dominated Construction and Supervision Team for the on-going construction of 13.82 kilometer farm-to-market road (FMR) in Tampilisan. This road concreting and rehabilitation project is funded by the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) worth over P188 Million.

It traverses six barangays in Tampilisan from Poblacion, Farmington, Galingon, Balacbaan, Cabong ang Tilubog and connects barangays of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. Based on the program of works (POWs), the winning contractor Long Island Builders and CB Garay Construction shall finish the project in 1,019 calendar days. The works reckon February 10, 2016 and its target completion will be on November 24, 2018.

“I come to Tampilisan twice a week to conduct site inspection so as to ensure strict adherence to specifications and designs of the road construction based from the Program of Works being executed by the contractor,” Batilona declares.

During actual inspection, she documents whatever deficiency on the works of the contractor. “After the site inspection, we meet with contractor’s project engineer, material engineer, including in-charge of geometric control. We solicit issues, concerns and draw commitments then discuss these during our monthly coordination meeting”.

“All should know, during the meeting, what were the lapses, deficiencies and we take note of their compliance from those complied, partially complied or not yet complied,” the lady engineer adds.

Back in 2014, Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Government under Governor Roberto Uy entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with DA to implement a World Bank-funded rural development project dubbed as PRDP. To date, Zamboanga del Norte holds the record to be the first PLGU in Region IX to implement the longest road concreting nearing 14 kilometers.

To oversee and manage the actual construction works, Governor Uy designated Engr. Batilona as component head of the Intensified Building-Up of Infastructure and Logistics for Development (I-BUILD) of the Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit (PPMIU).

RPCO9 lauds PPMIU’s adherence to transparency, accountability

With Engr. Batilona at the helm, gives the impression to PRDP’s Regional Project Coordination Office 9 based in DA Research Center, Sanito, Ipil through I-IBUILD component head Juanito C. Taripe, Jr. that PPMIU Zamboanga del Norte is impartially embracing PRDP’s principles of transparency and accountability in pursuit to provide quality and durable farm-to-market road to 2,047 farming households with its ultimate goal to improve their quality of life.

Engr. Taripe lauds the lady engineer for regularly holding a monthly coordination meeting since the FMR implementation commenced. Issues and problems encountered including deliverables of the contractor are discussed for resolutions.

Contractor guarantees road to last 20 years

Long Island Builders’ Resident Engineer at the same time Material Engineer Noel Viador assures that the 13.82 kilometer road they are constructing can last up to 20 years because its 100 percent compacted.

Viador can’t help but compare their previously implemented projects from PRDP. “The gap is very wide. Other government agency projects do not have the kind of operation the way PRDP does. The project has several inspectors apart from PPMIU. PRDP has several units like Social and Environmental Safeguards, GGU (Geomapping and Governance Unit) so we are very careful. In terms of documentation, workmanship – I am not afraid if a 10-wheeler truck passes through our road. Although it is only 6 inches thick, but it is guaranteed it is very strong,” Viador assures.

Taripe, on the other hand, clarifies that based on the Implementation Management Agreement, after completion, there is 1 year warranty from the contractor. Any structural defect is a
contractor’s liability. Moreover, there is a 10-year Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Plan after its completion to be taken cared by the recipient MLGU. During this period, it cannot be removed or replaced by other funding institution.

However, Taripe points out that since it is only a 6-inch thick farm-to-market road, truck loads to pass through this road must be regulated through an ordinance

In February 15, 2016, during its groundbreaking ceremony, then National Project Director Arnel De Mesa implored to the beneficiaries to keep an eye on the so-called regular and periodic maintenance of the road to meet the expectation that concrete pavements would last more than 20 years if it is properly maintained.

Geotagging scheme shuns bogus accomplishments

Batilona, for her part admits: “PRDP guidelines are stricter compared to ordinary projects. We have projects under DILG, they too, have guidelines but PRDP is different. No. 1 is the geotagging. Other projects we implemented before did not require geotagging but PRDP strongly requires that every reported activity accomplished must have corresponding geotagged photos. In this case, the contractor cannot falsify their accomplishments.”

According to her, it is much better in such a way that the “under the table” is avoided. Under PRDP, the contractor can never fake accomplishment because the close monitoring is strictly observed by PRDP and even in the PPMIU. This, I see the difference from our previous projects with other line agencies, Batilona explains.

Mayor Carloto expresses gratitude about PRDP

For and in behalf of Tampilisan constituents, Mayor Angeles Carloto II is thankful to the Almighty to be given the PRDP project with counterpart from the Provincial Government led by Governor Uy. Tampilisan is generally a rubber-producing municipality in Zamboanga del Norte.
He recalls MLGU’s involvement in the preparation of the project when the whole road stretch was surveyed sometime in 2014. Because the road is 10 meters wide, they negotiated the affected residents of the road right of way and Tampilisan MLGU allocated funds to pay the residents affected by the project. As the works are going on, Mayor Carloto is mindful for their duty ensuring that wastes are properly disposed to designated dumping area.
As of press time, physical accomplishment is only at 11 percent with -3 percent slippage. Based on the program of works, its target completion date will be by November 24, 2018. (Remai S. Alejado/da9)

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