DPWH irks Digong

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By Jun Ledesma

Sunbursts

Thursday, September 4, 2014


THERE is always an end to one’s tolerance. The slothful and overbearing officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Davao Region 11 have been testing the patience of Digong and so finally got the goat of the Mayor. What I gathered is that the mayor has been bombarded with complaints from motorists and the riding public about the unexplainable traffic congestion in the city even during weekends. The culprit as it obviously turned out is the sluggishness of construction and repairs of various infrastructures in the city which takes an eternity to finish.

DPWH officials and their contractors simply ignore the grumbling and went their way with the digging the sidewalks and breaking busy concrete roads with no sign they will finish the job even within the decade.

The funny and yet contemptuous thing is that Pres. Benigno Aquino even awarded DPWH performance bonus! For what? For “Noynoying”. Meaning indecisiveness or slothfulness. The upgrading of R. Castillo street and Quezon Boulevard for example was started over two years ago yet to this date there is no indication it will be finished before Aquino’s term ends. Bankerohan Bridge which is causing monstrous traffic does not seem to move because of the old horizontal structures which they said is hampering the progress of the job. Somewhere in C.M. Recto on the other hand, several columns of the old structures each measuring about 2 meters in diameter and several meters long were extracted by the Avida contractors with no problem at all. If we have no basis of comparison maybe we will believe DPWH. By the looks of it, DPWH or whoever is its contractor, will likely finish the job longer than forever.

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In yet another display of inefficiency, an important road (F. S. Dizon St,) in Bacaca is undergoing a makeover. It is appreciable that finally that important narrow artery is being widened and huge drainage culverts are being installed. To the dismay of motorists, this writer included, and subdivision dwellers along the way, DPWH started digging and then laid some culverts and a few meters of pedestrian walkways after which the works slowed down. For so many weeks we see only one or two pieces o equipment with only a number of laborers which you can count with your left hand fingers that are armed with spades and shoveling mud at their own sweet time. Last year, they started digging the sidewalk from the junction of F.S Dizon and J. P. Laurel. Until today, they have not covered and cemented the street corner and the sidewalk.
It is simply incomprehensible why they stopped work activity there. If DPWH district engineers have any standard of efficiency at all, they should be worried and alarmed why the job is on a standstill.

Why should it take a fuming Mayor Duterte to prod DPWH and its contractors to move? The day after the mayor was quoted by newspapers for his stern warning against DPWH for its lackadaisical construction activity, we finally saw a throng of workers in F.S. Dizon. The question now is – for how long will this show last? Well, they can try the mettle of Digong.

For now, DPWH and their contractors, DCWD and Davao Light and this should include the City Engineers Office too had been ordered by Mayor Duterte to submit their program of work before they can start any work that would hamper traffic or cause public inconvenience. This should apply to building construction and repairs which impair traffic flow. There is no such thing as an open-ended program of work. Some projects are intentionally delayed to wait for some natural intervention to happen like heavy rains and floods for them to ask for additional allocation. In the execution of construction program, there ought to be some standard to follow. Why is it that in the United States and in Europe, when needed, constructions are done at night under bright klieg lights where man and machines perform the tasks with dispatch and efficiency?
The devil here is that many vital contracts are awarded to Manila-based firms because the locals, allegedly lack “experience and qualification”. At the end of the day, the Manila contractors merely subcontract the job to the locals. As if this iniquity is not enough, the subcontractors would turn out later to be officials of DPWH using the license of a local firm. If the Ombudsman cannot bring these bastards to trial, hopefully the phantoms of the past will deal with them…with tender persuasion.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 05, 2014.

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