By: Modesto Sa-onoy
THIS TERM is of Filipino origin and aptly describes roads that are full of potholes and crevices that passing through them can literally cause a woman to lose her child.
For drivers this is an occasion to curse without feeling guilty and passengers understand the expletives if they do not add to the damning outburst. Filipinos express their frustrations in expletives with the thought that their collective damnation will lead to gaba or karma.
We know that billions of pesos are allocated each year for roads and bridges but we also suspect, and without doubt, that infrastructures are one of the best sources of corrupt money.
Three people are always blamed for the miserable state of our roads and bridges. First are the congressman and the local executives. The second are the officials and personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways and the local counterparts in the city and municipal engineer’s offices. The third are the contractors who connive with these officials to skim off part of the budget.
Lump into these categories the barangay chairman and his cabal composed of handlers and one gets the idea what anti-corruption groups talk about – at least 30% of public works funds go to private pockets.
If we go down the line to include the policemen and soldiers who man the check (or choke) points, the percentage can go up to half of the budget.
If a foreigner reads all the safeguards in the way funds are allocated for infrastructures, he would probably say he could not comply with all the requirements and survive the process of awarding contracts.
The Sanggunian of Bacolod has just passed a resolution asking Bacolod Congressman Anthony Golez and the DPWH “to repair the Pahanocoy to Sum-ag road. It described “the road from Pahanocoy to Sum-ag, a main thoroughfare” as “filled with holes that have reportedly caused accidents.”
Finally, the SP has taken this bold step, authored by Councilor Roberto Rojas when for years people had only grumbled and cursed and made fun in the midst of their misery.
What cannot be explained is that the road from the old airport to Manville Subdivision had been expanded and concreted (which took several years) but the project stopped at Pahanocoy Bridge then resumed right after and then ended at Sum-ag River Bridge.
From here on to the boundary with Bago City it is abortion road. Travelers from the south would know they are in Bacolod when they are jolted from their nap.
This is only one of the abortion roads. There are several, many of them owned by housing subdivisions that abandon their subdivisions after they had taken the money although their contracts require them to get those roads concreted and maintained.
Where can the buyers run to? The government housing authority, HLURB is supposed to insure that buyers are protected but aside from conducting endless hearings that end nowhere, these officials are as deaf and as dumb as the DPWH when it comes to complying with their responsibilities.
The conclusion of buyers is that they are in cahoots with subdivision owners, corrupted to look the other way.
There are supposed to be subdivision associations, but they are as inutile as the government agencies although they quarrel over getting elected because politicians cater to them as they do with barangay officials during the elections.
The case of Bacolod is not unique as all travelers know but the city streets and roads are most often used so that those that are in poor condition stand out as sore thumbs.
Cong. Golez has yet to explain satisfactorily why the DPWH is asphalting good roads and neglecting the abortion ones.
Sure, he inherited from former Cong. Monico Puentevella this abortion road but that is not an excuse because he has already been in office for over a year and we have not heard from him what he intends to do.
This road was an issue against Puentevella who had nine years to construct the Pahanocoy River Bridge and then complete the work to the boundary with Bago.
This project was started over 10 years ago by former Cong. John Orola but remains unfinished. Perhaps Golez wants to continue the livelihood project of some shirtless people who collect money from motorists who pass by the bridge? They really look menacing with their tin cans.
The state of the abortion road has already become a political issue as it shows how Golez has failed in this regard but there is redemption here as well.
I heard that the money for this project was available ten years ago. Maybe Puentevella who wants to run for mayor can also be asked about it although I doubt he would. He even failed to explain why P20 million of government funds ended up in his bank account.