CEBU

Carvajal: Road to Sipalay

FOUR of us just got back from a three-day R &R in Sipalay, Negros Occidental, with our spouses. We just wanted to check out if what we heard about Sipalay’s Sugar Beach was true.

We were not disappointed. We had a great time relaxing, enjoying nature without the madding crowd and pollution of Boracay. The water was so clean and clear you could see your shadow underwater. Not a leaf, weed or any piece of flotsam anywhere. No seaweeds much less plastics on the shores either.

As claimed, the sand was as fine but not as white as Boracay’s. It felt heavenly under our bare feet as there were no stones or pebbles, not even a broken seashell to belie its fineness.

But as dazzled as we were by the beach we were more memorably impressed by the road we took to get there. The 180-kilometer highway from Dumaguete City via Zamboanguita town was part asphalt and part concrete but both felt equally smooth under the wheel. The concrete four-lane portions of the road were remarkable for the evenness and solidity of their construction. There were no signs of substandard concrete mixes anywhere.

We could not help comparing it with the Naga-San Fernando and Carcar-Barili roads that are currently undergoing widening and upgrading. These roads’ surface is so uneven it gives you nothing short of a rough ride. Many portions have protruding gravel as surface because of substandard concrete mixes.

Compared to the road to Sipalay the widening and upgrading of our South road is so completely botched-up one wonders how the contractor is allowed to get away with it. Well, not really as there can only be two reasons for this anomaly. The contractor or contractors are either amateurs or corrupt.

For obvious reasons they cannot possibly be amateurs. That leaves us with the conclusion that they could be corrupt together with the politician or politicians who secured the budget for these projects and the supervising government agencies like DPWH, including government auditors.

The work is so substandard (starkly so now that we have seen the concrete road to Sipalay) that only graft and corruption can explain how the contractors have been allowed to botch the construction. Only corrupt government officials can accept and pay for these botched roads many portions of which already need to be redone, the cement surface having been washed out because of substandard concrete mixes.

I know this is an exercise in futility because I am sure nothing will be done to correct the anomaly. I am just venting my frustration at the corruption that has hounded road-building in Cebu. Anyway, if you want to see a road that is professionally built according to standard specs, get on the road to Sipalay.


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