Editorial: Build, Build, Build

Editorial Art by John Gilbert Manantan
Editorial Art by John Gilbert Manantan

EVEN with the pandemic creating havoc on the lives of people and the operation of businesses, the grim situation seems to be overtaken by the political circus as the general election draws nearer. On May 9, 2022, voters will choose the nation’s leaders, the most important position contested being that of the Office of the President.

On Sept. 8, 2021, Panfilo Lacson and Tito Sotto announced their tandem, while one of the factions of PDP-Laban nominated Bong Go for president with President Rodrigo Duterte as vice president. In the next few weeks, we should see more names.

It seems that Duterte does not want to settle as a senior statesman, but will continue to get involved in fighting against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption. These three areas he promised to eliminate during the early part of his term. In his last State of the Nation Address (Sona), he said: “Corruption is endemic in government. You cannot stop corruption. Nobody can stop corruption unless you overthrow government completely.” That statement has come to haunt him as the trail of corruption seems to lead to Malacañang.

It is in the area of infrastructure that the Duterte administration will likely project as its most important accomplishment. “Build, Build, Build” is Duterte’s massive infrastructure program to create jobs and usher in economic growth across the regions. He bragged in his Sona of going “beyond Metro Manila, we are pursuing several high-impact projects...We have brought equitable development.”

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, who is gunning for a seat in the Senate, trumpets the administration’s accomplishment in his Facebook page. His entry on September 1 reads: “What has #BuildBuildBuild accomplished? 29,264 kilometers of roads, 5,950 bridges, 11,340 flood control projects 222 evacuation centers and 150,149 classrooms.” The numbers are impressive, and so are the photos that he posts on a regular basis.

Which brings me to the appeal of teacher Orwen “Yo” Emperado, one of the pioneer rappers in Cebu, of Biso Elementary School, the farthest school in the Bais City Schools Division. The five-kilometer road from the national highway in Dawis Bayawan City to Biso, Cambagahan, Bais City maybe one of the worst in the Philippines. Not even a Mars Exploration Rover can survive the terrain. Yo has to leave his motorcycle in the highway and hike for 1-2 hours depending on the weather. The road becomes more like a river when it rains.

He said there was an attempt to repair the road in 2015, but was discontinued due to political bickering.

He wrote, “Ako lang unta nga suggestion mas pinakamaayo jud nga ang DPWH mismo ang magdala sa budget ug nagtrabaho ug igo lang mo coordinate ang barangay ug city officials, para neutral ug walay ngalan sa politician nga ma-involve sa work.”

Hopefully, Secretary Villar can add the five-kilometer road to Biso to his accomplishments. Yo, his fellow teachers and the school children should send their messages to Villar’s FB page and attach photos of the road’s state of disrepair.


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