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Rough Cuts | Something for the COA to look into

Our friend Jimmy Curato and neighbors at Pag-ibig Homes Subdivision in Catalunan Grande, Davao City wish to thank Davao City Water District (DCWD) for finally repairing a portion of a road side that it destroyed several months back to repair a busted distribution line.

Our friend has sought our help to inform the water firm that after its men did the repair they just piled the concrete debris on the sidewalk and advised Mr. Curato that another team will take care of restoring the destroyed portion. The repair work that necessitated the destruction of the road side resulted to a manhole since the opening was right on top of the subdivision’s underground drainage.

Clearly, it was a potential cause for accident for children.

The other week the destroyed portion was finally repaired and the hole closed. While the workmanship is far from quality the neighborhood is all but happy since accidents are no longer likely to happen.

The DCWD deserves their thanks.

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Our sincerest condolence to the family of the late Acting City Treasurer Erwin Alparaque who died after one week of falling into a coma.

Erwin was a friend and with whom we had been dealing with for a number of times when we were still connected with the power utility serving Davao City.

We were sad when we heard he had an attack of aneurism, went into a coma and was declared “brain dead.”
Last week-end we were sadden even more upon hearing the news that Erwin had passed on. The guy’s death is without doubt, a big loss to the City Government of Davao. In other words, Erwin’s passing has left big shoes to fit.

Again, our condolence to the family of the late Erwin.

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Here we are again asking this question: Why did the proponent of the overpass projects in certain areas of Davao City, specifically in Mintal Proper and in Calinan, include an elevator as one of its components. From what we learned from sources with connections to the contractors of the projects, the total cost of each overpass was roughly P15 million. About P5 million of this represents the cost of the elevator and its installation.

The overpasses had been completed about two years ago and we have yet to witness the elevators being used by the public. There was a time when we personally stood by near the Calinan and Mintal overpasses for almost an hour each just to get an opportunity to see even one person using the elevator. For the duration we saw no one. In the case of the case of the Calinan overpass we asked a traffic enforcer nearby if we could use the lift. However, we were told that the elevator was not functioning.

We can very well understand the objective of the inclusion of elevators in the overpass projects. That is, to help the elderly, persons with disability and those carrying heavy baggage easy access to the top. That is a noble intention.

However, what we cannot comprehend is why are the lifts not in use. Our hunch is that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which implemented the overpasses that are national government projects, and the local government of Davao City may not have come up with an agreement as to who shall foot the power bills for the operation of the elevators. It is also possible that they haven’t decided who shall provide the manpower to operate the lifts to ensure that the equipment are properly maintained and will last according to its prescribed lifetime.

But until the DPWH or the City government come up with an explanation on the issue, we cannot help but maintain suspicion of some sectors of the population that the provision of an elevator in some overpass projects is purely for padding the cost so that some unscrupulous people in government agencies concerned will have bigger base to charge their percentage for kickbacks.
Indeed these lifts included in the overpass projects that are not put to use are “white elephants” within a useful infrastructure. In due time the elevators will not anymore be operational as rust could already be slowly eating them up.

Why cannot the Commission on Audit (COA) look into this cleverly veiled anomaly in such projects?

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