'Overpriced' Cebu lamp posts removed

by Carmi Cavanlit, ABS-CBN News Central Visayas

Posted at Apr 19 2012 09:07 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2012 03:02 PM

CEBU, Philippines – After being idle for five years, the controversial ASEAN Summit Lamp posts have been removed by the Cebu City Government.
The City Integrated Traffic Operation Management (CITOM) led the removal starting in Nivel Hills in Lahug.

CITOM personnel used jackhammers to ensure the speedy removal of the posts.

Many Cebuano's believe that the lamp posts have been an eye sore, an obstruction to pedestrians, and a symbol of corruption.

In Cebu City, 677 lamp posts are the subject of a graft case at the Sandiganbayan for allegedly being overpriced.

The Ombudsman special prosecutor approved the request of Cebu Mayor Michael Rama to remove the decorative lamp posts from city streets since they are not covered by any confiscation or forfeiture proceedings by the anti-graft court.

CITOM chairman Sylvan Jakosalem said the lamp posts will be replaced with plants.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) ordered 1,800 lamp posts to line the streets of Mandaue, Cebu and Lapu-Lapu during the 2007 Association of South East Asian Nations Summit.

Each lamp post was priced at P95,000.

But graft investigators say the actual cost was only P14,000.

Among those charged were DPWH-7 regional official and city engineers of Mandaue City and former Mandaue City Mayor Thadeo Ouano.

Former Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza was included in the respondents, but was dropped from the case after he was reelected in 2010.

Ouano is currently a board member of the province of Cebu while Radaza represents the lone district of Lapu-Lapu at the House of Representatives. -- ANC