Editorial: Needed explanation

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Monday, May 12, 2014


THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has received an avalanche of criticisms over its ongoing road works in the Metro Cebu area, primarily because of the streets being chosen for rehabilitation and the manner these were being done.

The common questions: Why are relatively new roads being targeted for rehabilitation? Why are the asphalt’s surface scraped off, making the road difficult to navigate, and left for days before being paved again?

Those are obviously layman’s questions. But unlike other government agencies, DPWH, especially its regional and district offices here, has long shied away from the media, probably because of the controversies it got embroiled in the past, like the scandal involving lampposts set up for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in 2007.

DPWH 7 officials don’t usually answer queries from reporters about issues that crop up, including criticisms of its recent road works.

It is therefore a pleasant surprise that Sun.Star Cebu was provided by DPWH 7 District Engr. Fernando Cruz’s answer to a memorandum issued to him by DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas regarding an article printed in the paper about the road works in Cebu City.

Cruz’s explanation was a lengthy one, but it provided insights into the road rehabilitation work process that DPWH is following together with answers to other relevant points raised by the public. Had DPWH 7 been aggressive in explaining these to the public, the criticisms hurled at the department would have been minimized.

One interesting explanation was that while commuters may have considered some of the roads being rehabilitated as still in good condition, DPWH’s “road condition survey” didn’t.

And the “scarifying” of the old asphalt was necessary “to level the surface to the desired top of the roadway crown and also to minimize the raising up of existing road elevation beyond that of the existing curb and gutter where our inlets and manholes are locate.”

Cruz also reiterated that DPWH can only do road works on national roads and not on local roads, no matter how deteriorated their condition may already be.

The explanations and clarifications may not convince some sectors that the road works that are being done are devoid of irregularities, but that is normal because there are always people with solidified opinion.

Still, having a DPWH official answer questions about the conduct of its project can help well-meaning people understand DPWH’s operation and, in the process, improve its image.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 13, 2014.

Opinion

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