Cebu City Hall personnel yesterday started removing the controversial Asean lampposts, many of them idle and vandalized after being installed in 2006.
The City Integrated Traffic Operation Management (Citom) led the removal starting in Nivel Hills in Lahug.
“We will go down to Juan Luna Avenue up to S. Osmeña Boulevard in the North Reclamation area to remove this pricey junk,” said Silvan “Jack” Jakosalem, Citom chairman.
In Cebu City, 677 lampposts are the subject of a graft case in the Sandiganbayan for allegedly being overpriced when they were purchased by the national government to line key streets for the 2007 Asean Summit hosted in Cebu.
The Ombudsman Special Prosecutor approved the request of Mayor Michael Rama to remove the decorative lampposts from city streets since they are not covered by any confiscation or forfeiture proceedings by the anti-graft court.
Rama said he wants to rid the city streets of these “bad reminders of corruption in the past.”
Jakosalem said removing the lampposts also clears sidewalks of obstructions.
The mayor ordered them all removed by this month.
Joelito Baclayon, city agriculturist, recommended replacing the lampposts with ornamental plants like bougainvillea, santan and banyan -dakit.
His office already produced planting materials for these flowering plants in the city’s plant nursery at the South Road Properties (SRP).
The lampposts will be stored in the General Service Office Warehouse near the Malacañang sa Sugbo.
A total of 1,800 China-made lampposts ordered by the DPWH were installed in cities of Mandaue, Cebu and Lapu-Lapu to line the ceremonial route of dignitaries attending the 2007 Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Summit hosted in Cebu.
There were various models purchased.
The shorter lamppost was priced at P95,000 but the actual cost was only P14,000, according to graft investigators.
Among those charged before the Sandiganbayan were DPWH-7 regional official and city engineers of Mandaue City, former Mandaue City mayor and now Provincial Board member Thadeo Ouano.
Former Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza was initially charged but administrative liability was wiped out when he was elected to office in 2010. /Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondent