Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Singson sacks 2 Bicol district engineers
By Manilyn Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 24 (PNA) – Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson sacked two of his district engineers and two assistant district engineers in Bicol.

Ordered relieved are Masbate 2nd district engineer Edgar M. Curativo, Albay 1st district engineer Teodoro Castillo, assistant district engineers Gil Balmadrid of the Catanduanes District Engineering Office (DEO) and assistant district engineer Romeo Cielo of the Sorsogon 2nd DEO.

Ironically, Castillo who is barely a year in his Albay assignment, will be replaced by controversial former Camarines Norte district engineer Simeon Arias who was sacked by Singson last March on alleged bidding irregularities and other corruption charges.

Castillo is a full-fledged district engineer higher than a division chief in the regional office and who has the rank of Engineer V.

Arias, according to his records, is only Engineer !V and fit for assistant district engineer post and officer-in-charge only.

He has not passed the Civil Service Commission–DPWH promotional exam which Singson has boasted as the only basis for appointment.

Arias had been on a floating assignment at the regional office here and under investigation following the collapse on Sept. 18 of the concrete Kabuluan detour bridge in Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte, built last year.

Gov. Edgardo Tallado has said that the bridge, built at a cost of Php27 million by Benmar Construction, collapsed following heavy rains because, he said, it was substandard.

Sta. Elena Councilor Artemio Sendon Jr. claimed he had also written Singson that the DPWH Camarines Norte under Arias had allegedly paid 60 percent for the Phase 1 construction of the Php27-million Kabuluan permanent bridge without any accomplishment as confirmed by DPWH records.

The CSC-DPWH promotional test was a brainchild of then Sec. Gregorio Vigilar and revived by Singson after it was irregularly imposed by Vigilar’s successors on account of politics and discouraging passing rate ratio.

Qualified to take the promotional test are engineers III and above.

It was learned that under Singson, only three from Bicol hurdled the promotional test in 2011 out of the more than 400 examinees nationwide -- 70 of them were from the Bicol Region.

Early in September, Singson sacked Bicol Regional Director Danilo Dequito for miserably failing to hurdle the mission test given to him during his four-year stint to professionalize the DPWH Bicol office, dubbed as a man-made calamity-stricken region.

Dequito was replaced by Regional Director Melvin Navarro who was pulled out by Singson from Region 2.

It was not clear where Curativo and Castillo will be assigned.

Curativo’s relief reportedly concerns the many projects under contract with the Ormoc City-based Yakal Construction that have been allegedly suffering with too much negative slippages.

The contractor is touted to have a strong connection with one of Singson’s undersecretaries that a Php436-million asphalt overlaying project of the regional office that started in January this year and is supposed to end by December barely has a 30-percent accomplishment only, according to documents. (PNA) CTB/FGS/MU/CBD/