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by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Implementers of the Busol watershed fencing project expressed fears the project may not be able to meet the June 30 target completion due to slow work progress.

In the regular Baguio Regreening Movement meeting on Tuesday, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Cordillera representative Marilyn Malecdan reported that while the perimeter fencing construction is ongoing as far as their assigned spans is concerned, it is moving on slowly because the contractor has yet to heed their request to add more workers to finish the fencing. The request was made in April after it was reported by the monitoring team that only few were seen working on the spans within the site.

Malecdan said only 59 percent or about 200 spans have so far been finished and at the pace the construction is going, it may be difficult to complete the project by June 30.

The fencing project targets to put up 340 spans starting from corner 1 of Busol forest reserve following the boundary of Baguio City and La Trinidad. The remaining 140 spans is planned to be transferred to the La Trinidad side, along corner 10 to 1.

More than P34 million have been raised from fund raising campaigns, P17M of which from the DENR, P10M from the city government, P3M from the BWD, P1M from Benguet Electric Cooperative, and rest from fundraising campaigns and donations from residents and institutions.

Malecdan added they have met with representatives from the BWD and the contractor, Tribu Designs and Construction, to also discuss the corrective measures that should be done to address the problems encountered in the construction of the spans.

She said retrofitting measures are being applied in about 15 spans while two spans had to be completely reconstructed because these spans must align with the terrain where the fences have to pass through.

Still, she said there is a need to fast-track the construction by adding more workers to meet the target completion date. She said they have been consistently coordinating with the contractor but even fewer workers are monitored on site.

Joel Wadwadan of the BWD, which takes charge of the implementation of its pledged amount for the project, reported having finished 152 meters of the fence or 38 spans at corner one to two (Tiptop-Ambuklao-Pacdal area) or within the La Trinidad-Baguio boundary, comprised of eight spans finished out of BWD donation and 30 spans completed out of the donation from Beneco.

The City Buildings and Architecture Office is set to implement the donation from the city government.

Corner 1 to 2 covers 1,091 meters, 852 meters of which has been finished. Wadwadan said as per agreement, the finished fences were done within the open area where no encroachments have been monitored and shall avoid existing structures.