Buzz: Current road projects are a waste of public funds

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Sunday, May 11, 2014


AN URBAN planner told Bzzzzz that road repair projects of government show lack of planning and waste public funds.

The planner, also an engineer, says government has a habit of fixing roads that do not need fixing. Worse, the repair is done haphazardly. Fixed roads tend to have a lifespan commensurate to the term of office of the official who had them done.

The Bzzzzz source points out that government spends at least P10 million a year on road repair in Cebu alone. 

If government builds roads that are made to last, there would be no need for periodic repairs. But then there’d be no money, fat kickbacks, for corrupt public officials.

MCLUTS

Some of Metro Cebu’s traffic problems would not be experienced today if government had adopted the recommendations of the MCLUTS,  or the Metro Cebu Land Use and Transport Study, which began in 1978  and became the basis for the Cebu City South Reclamation Project, the second bridge to Mactan and widening of some major roads. 

But many recommendations of the MCLUTS, which foresaw the growing traffic and development of new business districts, were left out.

An engineer who’s studied the MCLUTS blames politics. Instead of widening roads like Gov. Cuenco Ave. and building new road networks in future built-up areas, political leaders yielded to threats of lost votes.

Colonial mentality at work?

A techinal expert on development planning and infrastructure laments the tendency of local government officials to tap foreign consultants. He says there are many Filipinos who are willing to do the job for less or for free.

Here’s the scenario when foreign entities are involved: foreign consultant recommends projects and picks their contractors that employ their people who pay taxes to their government.  

Most foreign consultants get salaries that conform to their countries’ standard pay so a big chunk of the grant goes to the wages and benefits of expats working on the project. 

The technical expert’s advice: If we must get a foreign expert, choose one whose government will shoulder her/his salary and accommodation in the Philippines.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 12, 2014.

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