BY MAE SINGUAY
BACOLOD City – Rep. Evelio Leonardia claimed he is the target of Mayor Monico Puentevella’s “tantrum” over the P140-million road project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) here.
Puentevella alleged he was not informed of the project that removed flowers and plants from the center island of the long stretch of road from the corner of Lacson-Burgos Streets to the Burgos market.
“Now, you see why Bacolod has tumbled from No. 2 most efficient local government to No. 45? Here is your mayor who has done not a single road or lamppost for his entire first year, throwing a tantrum over a major project that is guaranteed to accelerate the city’s growth,” said Leonardia.
Puentevella had said the project was former Rep. Anthony Golez’s but yesterday, Leonardia took credit for it.
“This road project was first discussed in a 2012 workshop among our tourism functionaries when I was still the mayor,” Leonadia said.
He also said the project is billed “Construction and Maintenance Service and Other Infrastructure” under the “Construction / Improvement of Access Roads Leading to Airport Seaports and Declared Tourism Destinations” program.
If Leonardia were to be believed, the project is funded by a “convergence fund” of the Department of Tourism and DPWH and included in the General Appropriations Act of 2014, “when I was already congressman.”
Puentevella asked Public Works secretary Rogelio Singson to investigate the destruction of flowers and plants on the center island of the street, and why the department’s engineering office in Bacolod City did not seek the mayor’s approval.
The project is part of a bigger multimillion-peso road project that will improve the highway from Lacson-Burgos Streets to the Bacolod-Talisay boundary.
“At P240-million, this is the single biggest national government project in Bacolod and here you have the mayor raising imaginary problems against it,” said Leonardia.
He described Puentevella as “childish”.
“We work so hard to pitch for projects for Bacolod and now that we have it going, this overly-sensitive mayor wails because he claims he did not know some plants were removed,” said Leonardia.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod has taken the side of Puentevella and is also demanding an explanation from DPWH.
“The letter of Abraham Villareal, district engineer, informing me, is not enough to start the project. The DPWH must seek first the approval of the city,” said Puentevella.
In a resolution passed on Wednesday, the city council lamented DPWH’s lack of coordination with the city government.
“We all know that Puentevella’s bottom line here is not for the good of Bacolod but just so he could destroy me,” Leonardia said.
He belied there was a lack of coordination.
“He said there was no coordination between his office and DPWH, and yet his office had asked for the garden soil that was removed from the road construction project he now claims no knowledge of. The soil was delivered to the New Government Center,” said Leonardia.
According to Project Engineer Ferdinand Magada, the garden soil removed from the project site was delivered to the back lot of the New Government Center on the instruction of former barangay captain Madeleine Diaz, now an executive assistant of Puentevella.
This was done a week before the project started, Magada said.
Magada also said he wrote Puentevella about the project on July 21./PN