Contractor faces sanctions as covered court collapses

The city government of Zamboanga is determined to take legal action against the Lamitan VJ Construction and Supplies after the covered court it had constructed at Sinubong National High School collapsed yesterday morning, causing minor injuries on at least eight students.

Mayor Beng Climaco has immediately instructed the City Engineer’s Office, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office together with the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and inspection on all infrastructure projects undertaken in schools.

“This is to ensure that the projects are safe for all occupants and compliant with the National Building Code. We will file the necessary charges against erring contractors for them to be accountable,” Climaco said in a statement she read during the press briefing, shortly after the freak accident at Sinubong NHS.

She said as early as May 24, 2019 she had issued a memorandum to City Engineer Christopher Q. Navarro, CDRRMO Officer Dr. Elmeir Apolinario and City Administrator Marie Angelique E. Go to carry out an intensified enforcement of the Building Code and Safety Measures.

“You are further instructed to monitor religiously all of the projects relative to infrastructure that are proposed, implemented and in the pipeline for procurement and bidding and to submit reports together with actions taken and recommendations,” the mayor said in the memo to Engr. Navarro, Dr. Apolinario and Go.

Navarro said the contractor was immediately ordered to immediately repair the covered court, and to shoulder all expenses for medical/hospitalization of the injured students. As to the legal action, if there will be any, he will leave it to the City Legal Office.

In the meantime, all projects awarded to Lamitan VJ Construction and Supplies have been put on hold. These include the rehabilitation of the public market and Phase 3 of Nuñez Extension Road.

Initial investigation showed that around 50 Grade 9 students were having their first period class at the newly constructed covered court when the accident occurred.

Navarro told the press briefing that there was an initial acceptance of the project following its completion but no permission was given to the school to use the facility because there has been no proper turnover of the project yet. However, he said the principal decided to use the covered court for classes due to lack of classrooms.-(Vic Larato)