Progress Kills Progress-A A +A
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
IF YOU happen to use the west portion of Jose Abad Santos Avenue, you will most certainly notice the road works that would pave the way for the construction of a flyover, to allow for smooth daily traffic, as the City of San Fernando counts on another economic boost.
Inevitably, you will likewise see those huge jack-hammers and earth-shaking diggers, as the widening of the stretch is also being undertaken. As a consequence of logic, the civil works would indeed reflect the pace of progress of the city, even as more and more investments come pouring in.
But what you won’t perhaps notice is the downside effect not of the initiative but the nature by which it will be realized. The enormous decline in patronage of the businesses along the stretch speaks well of that. Inconvenient parking, heavy traffic, potholes, airborne irritants and all that noise from Optimus Prime’s gang, it’s simply the perfect recipe to repel even the avid follower.
Given that the temporary quandary is but unavoidable, for the business owners, this one is taking much too long. And from the restaurants to the vulcanizing shops, everyone gets hurt, and very badly at that.
Though one will enthusiastically submit to the rationale that the P300 million or so flyover project is a huge development to boost trade and commerce, which it would indeed, it should not, however, reduce the existing players to ground level.
Yes, progress will sometimes entail a “one-step-backward-two-steps-forward” approach, sort of swallowing the bitter pill towards rejuvenation. But the backward march must not be way farther that the forward drive, much like the healing time must not be longer than what is left to live.
This is but a classic case of one progressive initiative devouring the effects of another; a dreaded irony that inflicts adverse financial damage to an investment.
Interestingly, the agency tasked to handle the job had set the completion to June 30, but by all indications, such would be impossible to accomplish. A news report from this paper said that the contract stipulations allow the completion until October, though there is this mild assurance that it is being fast-tracked to make it earlier; sweet consolation there.
Business owners have every right to complain since the area was once one of the booming spots in the city and contributed fairly to its economic improvement. Indeed business will be back to normal, but who’s to say that the same players will be there to witness it; for the longer it takes for the project to be completed the quicker it will be for them to go packing.
As one owner bluntly puts it, “This project, if not finished as soon as possible, will kill our businesses and we will be forced to close down or transfer elsewhere”. Either way, it’s a sorry sight.
Return of investments has never been this vague.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 27, 2012.