By Ali G. Macabalang
Stunted construction works on three bridges along Mulondo-Wao highway in Lanao del Sur have been completed, ending earlier online trade of barbs between workers and concerned commuters.
The family of Abdulraheem Hadjimalic, owner-manager of CDH Construction firm involved in the projects, announced the good news in a phone interview with the Philippine Muslim Today (PMT) news last week.
Some commuters, including the staff of Dr. Anshari Ali, chancellor of the Mindanao State University-General Santos City campus, corroborated the announcement, furnishing the PMT with some photos.
Mohammad Fahad Mocsir HadjiMalic, son of the CDH Construction firm owner-manager, said the three bridges were ready for formal turnover to the government, even as he expressed gladness for his family’s fulfillment of its commitment to complete the construction works this month of July.
In the interview, the son mentioned about their current works on a fourth and bigger bridge his family is also building along the highway of Maguing, Lanao del Sur.
Last February, the father and son tangled with some nitizens in heated arguments about the stunted construction of the bridge. The trade of barbs went viral in the “Mindanao Tapatan Lane,” which this writer created on Facebook.
The Hadjimalics were ostensibly piqued by some nitizens’ insinuations that the funds for the construction of the three bridges, which reportedly began in 2012, might have been misspent. They clarified that the work delays were caused by interrupted fund releases from the national government through the Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 10.
Earlier, some nitizens aired dismay over uncomfortable experiences in passing through detours of the three bridges along Maguing town, prompting this writer to float their sentiments in a post titled “3 bridges along Maguing, Lanao Sur unfinished despite releases of funds long ago, commuters complained.”
In the trade of arguments, Chancellor batted in to confirm that he “personally passed by the 3 bridges and we found them looking like (they were) just started but we heard that said projects were certified as completed projects.”
The three bridges form part of the construction of 53-kilometer Mulondo-Wao road, which the national government on instigation of Gov. Bombit Alonto-Adiong launched in 2012 to end decades of isolation of Amai Manabilang and Wao towns in road link from Marawi City and the rest of Lanao del Sur.
In August 2015, Gov. Adiong announced the completion of 41 kilometers of the total stretch, saying that succeeding appropriations would eventually lead to full opening of concreted highway between Marawi City and Wao. He said the project was cherished by his constituents and his father, the late former governor and ex-congressman Mamintal Sr. as a “provincial dream.”
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), through its Region 10 office in Cagayan de Oro City, had awarded to local contractors the opening and concreting of the 53-kilometer road alongside six bridges. One of the contractors was the FIAT Construction firm owned by Hadji Farouk Macarambon, who reported on Monday that his team had “finished” its 20-kilometer assignment “four years ago.”
Hadjimalic said his CDH Construction firm was awarded 17.5-kilometer of the stretch along Maguing town including the controversial three bridges. He said their road concreting assignment was more than “80 percent” completed as of last February.
The remaining uncompleted 800-meter section has been allocated fund under the 2021 General Appropriations Act expected to be released soon for the DPWH-Region 10 to issue Notice to Proceed, according to Hadjimalic’s son, who owns the Lecar Builders undertaking the unfinished road section.
“Rest assure sir that we will work hard to finish (the 800-meter section)…Taga (Maguing) po kami mismo… and it is our pride and honor na taposin at gandahan ang projects (including bridges) kase at the end of the day kami po at aming mga kababayan ang pangunahing makikinabang,” Mohammad Fahad, told the PMT last February. (AGM)