MY EDITORS beat me into writing a piece about our single and most scandalous display of avarice and folly: the chevrons at the stretch of Carlos P. Garcia Highway, which we popularly call diversion road. I have written a number of columns about this anomaly but it is simply apparent that none can stop the Department of Public Works and Highways and whoever are its collaborators in Congress from carrying out schemes which are designed to line the pockets of those behind this outrageous projects and blatant profligacy.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

The chevrons we are referring to are the road signs which guide and warn motorists of dangerous curves. By specification, those chevrons in Ma-a are supposed to be using a special synthetic paint that would reflect the luminous signs by night time. I recalled that the specs also specified that the materials to be used should be stainless sheet. I do not know how the project passed audit when nothing seems to close to the specifications. Those chevrons cost the taxpayers P49 million! Each road sign which is made of GI sheets, two GI pipes that stand on a small ball of cement footing cost P14,000! Since I have not seen the invitation for bid published for this gargantuan project, I am sure that a lot of hocus pocus and exchange of gifts took place outside of the yuletide season.

I thought that values and behavioral patterns would change the insatiable mania of characters in DPWH and their patrons in congress with the change of leadership in Malacañang. Obviously it has not. I suspect that they have even become bolder. While Pres. Noynoy was delivering his state of the nation address, which warns the grafters that the long arms of the law will catch those who dare, DPWH was busy putting up chevrons along Matina Pangi in Davao City!

My gosh! If the President of the Republic of the Philippines cannot stop DPWH then who can? While he denounced the anomalies I think I saw somebody in the congressional hall smirking as if saying, "Manigas ka Noy."

There are no less that 3,500 chevrons planted so close to each other along the stretch of the diversion road in Ma-a, Davao City. There are only two points in that route that need at most 20 pieces of chevrons. When we exposed this stupidity DPWH hurriedly pulled out several hundreds. In fact, just a few days after elections, DPWH bulldozed several hundreds more and just piled these very precious chevrons by the roadside.

I do not know where they brought the chevrons which were extracted as they were scandalously too many clustered along the diversion road. President Noy has a classic way of describing it: "parang kabuteng sumusulpot." I do not know either where those bulldozed chevrons where brought. Where they brought to other regions to be resold or just brought to scrap dealers?

Maybe, these were transferred to Matina Pangi as the road signs there are so worn out. Can COA tell us whether this is another project or DPWH just transferred the chevrons from Ma-a to Matina Pangi?

While we are at this, it might be worth the while of DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima and the Truth Commission Chair Hilario Davide Jr. and the Ombudsman to also look into how the Gov. Generoso (Bankerohan) Bridge was undertaken. That P206-million span was bruited about as having been bidded out. When they cannot prove that it was bidded out, DPWH claimed they negotiated it as it was an emergency project. I still maintain that the construction could be considered emergency in nature since it started a year after the bridge collapsed.

***

By the way, SM Davao may have overlooked this. Sundays, the ascending escalators are running up to 12 noon but the descending is not. Senior citizens who go up the second and third floors become hostage on these floors as they have no choice but to take the stairs down. I think that SM is trying to conserve on electricity. But water levels in Lanao Lake and Bukidnon have long returned to normal levels. May I suggest to management that if they cannot have all the descending escalators run, to kindly have the escalators at the center of the mall both operate. Small expense for the physically handicapped and the senior citizens.