Malilong: Please repair our roads. Now

IT has been raining the past four days because of tropical storm Urduja, raising warnings from authorities of possible floods and landslides. Thankfully, the rainfall has not been heavy and so far there has been no report of a part of the earth caving in or swamped by water. Let’s pray that our luck holds.

No amount of prayer could possibly save our already bad roads from becoming even more rotten because of the incessant rains, however. In the street where I live, the potholes that have been covered by neighbors with temporary filling materials have re-appeared. It looks like it will stay that way for sometime.

If it’s any consolation, ours is not an isolated case. Bad roads are everywhere although the condition is much worse in poorer neighborhoods like ours. And if Mayor Tommy Osmeña doesn’t know it yet, most of the people I spoke with agree that the sad state of our thoroughfares turned sadder during his watch.

I remember Osmeña saying as soon as his BOPK wrested the majority in the city council from Barug-Team Rama, that he could finally pursue his road repair projects, among others. Their hold didn’t last long though as Hanz Abella resigned from the council to join the National Labor Relations Commission but even during that short window of BOPK numerical superiority, I didn’t notice any activity indicating that the city was finally paying attention to our deteriorating roads.

The council is deadlocked now with the appointment of UNA/Barug nominee Junjun Osmena as replacement for Abella. I hope that they will not use this as an excuse for still not attending to the city’s thoroughfares.The city has a road repair and maintenance crew. Surely, the mayor can send them out to the streets without having to secure permission from the councilors.

•••

The 17th Congress could go down in history as the busiest of all the country’s legislatures since the advent of organized government in the Philippines in terms of the number of public hearings being conducted. There is hardly any week that passes without either the House or the Senate holding a public hearing on this and that issue.

Public hearings are supposed to assist in the legislative process. Through them, legislators can listen to the views of resource persons who are known for their wisdom, expertise and experience and use their insights to determine what law should be crafted and how.

Alas, this lofty purpose is hardly recognizable in the modern day public hearings of our two houses of Congress. What we often see is an inquisition, a preliminary investigation or even a criminal proceeding. Committees invite people not as resource persons but as accusers, accused or witnesses and treat them accordingly.

In one particularly offensive congressional investigation, we saw a parade of criminal convicts serving time for capital offenses take turns narrating lurid details of a woman’s supposed sex life at the prodding of jeering congressmen who seemed more interested in ranking orgasm than in passing a wise law.

Maybe, television is to blame.
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