LGUs, tourism sector hit DPWH

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BAGUIO CITY: Irritated local government officials of Baguio City and Benguet joined the tourism sector in calling on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to make the necessary coordination before implementing its road repair projects.

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The call came following the chaotic DPWH rehabilitation projects in major Benguet roads and in Baguio City’s Central Business District a week before the Holy Week when tourists were expected to flock to the summer capital.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the absence of close coordination between the DPWH and the city government, coupled with inadequate information dissemination, engendered tremendous traffic congestions around the city.

Domogan said the DPWH-Baguio City District Engineering Office and the winning contractors failed to coordinate with the city government and traffic officers, as well as stakeholders in the tourism sector. He said everybody could have helped thresh out ways on how to ease the effects of the road repairs.

“It is very clear that the projects being implemented along national roads are nationally-funded and not city-funded, that is why the DPWH-BCDEO has the jurisdiction over the said projects,” the mayor said.

The Philippine Information Agency here in their regular Kapihan sa Baguio reported that Hotel and Restaurants Association of Baguio President Anthony De Leon also expressed his dismay at the timing of the road rehabilitation works.

Many expected visitors have cancelled their hotel reservations during the Holy Week because of the news on the state of traffic in the city, including the one-way traffic scheme on Kennon Road, De Leon said.

He explained that although some of the cancellations were brought about by impending typhoon Chedeng, information on the “calvary” road discouraged visitors planning to come to Baguio City.

Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan also expressed his dismay for the lack of coordination by the DPWH when it implemented the one-way traffic Kennon Road experiment.

“I am the governor of Benguet, and I was not informed,” Fongwan fumed during a recent kapihan forum, adding that he only learned about the experimental traffic scheme thru the print and broadcast media.

The governor said the plan was a good one, but it affected his constituents and created problems particularly with the residents of affected areas along Kennon Road.

“We have many farmers in Camp 3 and Camp 4 who bring their goods to La Union and Pangasinan. They were affected by the experimental traffic scheme since they have to go to their destinations by going up again to Baguio City via Kennon and go down to Marcos Highway,” said Fongwan.

While the tourism industry is contemplating to file charges against the DPWH and the contractors for loss of revenues, officials and stakeholders are calling for coordination before project implementation and the fast tracking of work to avoid losses and so much inconvenience for residents and tourists.

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