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By Nef Luczon
Sunday, January 27, 2013
IT ALL started inside the faculty office when I shared that someone sent me a message whether I would be willing to make an “Audio Visual Presentation,” as short of calling a political ad, to a political magnate that has a clout in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.
To avoid drama and further stain my hands with unnecessary political backlashes, I turned it down. I simply can’t take political clients who are so near in my neighborhood, on all political party, that is.
Then the conversation evolved from whether this politician have had “achievements” during his term in office or none at all, and later diverted into government projects like roads and infrastructure, or none at all.
And wonderment ensued and a realization that some already have noticed: why is it that there were roads even if they still look concrete and remarkably okay, are already being “renovated” that sometimes caused heavy traffics? What’s wrong with the old-and-okay roads that seem to have had endless “road repairs?” What’s to repair when it’s okay?
One colleague who happened to have a friend from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said there are “maintenance repairs” in every existing national roads and it actually has a budget for it. But here’s the catch, if the project is new, that means it’s another route to make like widening projects, the budget is also bigger than doing “maintenance.”
Then my mind was backing up the images of Bukidnon-Davao and Misamis Oriental-Butuan roads. Bukidnon’s national road going to Davao has been a subject of discomfort to some commuters especially those who are chasing time, while Misamis Oriental-Butuan road also causes discomfort to some motorists because of the unattended road cracks, of which, according to some, was due to the heavy weight of huge trucks carrying logs from the Caraga region.
If “maintenance repairs” are that important, why was the Misamis Oriental-Butuan national roads are being neglected of which it could have been a problem older than the repairs in Bukidnon road? Does it have something to do with legislations? National government agency funding or local government counters policies? At some point on that road, a signage was put “sorry for the inconvenience” and it was painted as if it would be staying there for a long period of time.
You can just imagine the full pockets some government and private partners have in there, and sometimes you can’t really believe that the country is poor by just mentioning the money “saved,” because of “shortcut” transactions and the classic “under the table” deals.
The Philippines has the money, but it wasn’t distributed well to its people because of the system and the ugly culture that we have.
This media company really doesn’t want to be associated with stories of politics and political agenda even it’s a paid advertisement or paid community event. But this journo-cum-PR person really wanted to boast his reputation (a.k.a. “Epal”) to his prospective political clients as a “sought-after” icon in the industry, and so he proposed to this media company that this story is a good feature story highlighting an “earth” project initiated by a known private company.
Here’s the spot though, this private company made a partnership with the local government unit of this town where the “earth” project was initiated, and should this feature story to materialize, this journo-cum-PR person will get a pocketful of treats from both the private company and the local government unit because of the success of his pitch. Brilliant move.
(Nef Luczon is a freelance journalist and a part-time communications faculty and trainer. He is also a film and art enthusiast. Read his blog at Nefoi.blogspot.com and send comments to email@example.com)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 28, 2013.