One requirement in the implementation of government infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, school buildings, etc., is the putting up of a billboard or billboards in conspicuous locations in the project site.
The billboard/s contain important information relative to the project such as its name, the contractor, the budget and its source, the contract cost, the duration of the implementation period (start and completion date), among others.
However, in our rounds of Davao City’s three districts we have noted that this is often partially complied, or totally ignored by both contractors and the and the implementing agency like the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Department of Agriculture, and other agencies in the case of national government projects.
As for infrastructure projects implemented by the local government, it is either the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) or the project contractor that neglects such a requirement.
If at all the billboards are installed, often these lack the necessary information that the public deserves to know about the project. Among the information that seem to be deliberately omitted are the date of completion, the contract cost, or the total budget.
But lately we have observed that in that very long delayed project of expanding the Davao-Bukidnon highway, specifically the stretch between Quarry in Tugbok to Angalan Bridge in Los Amigos, no single billboard containing important details of the project can be seen.
Yet, the expansion work undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways has been started some five years ago. There were reports that we heard earlier about the refusal of a land owner to give up a portion of his land that will be affected by the expansion project. And for that, people can understand the DPWH.
However, the one thing that many Davaoenos who regularly use the Davao-Bukidnon highway cannot possibly forgive the DPWH or its contractor is their failure to install a billboard within that stretch of the road. People would have known how long the delay of the project completion is.
Moreover, had either the DPWH or its contractor of the project communicated the reason or reasons of the delay through the media, or through a new billboard, there would have been less speculations on the possibility of corruption in the project implementation.
Imagine, after so many number of years that the project did not move it is only lately that we saw some activities in the site!
And talking of government road projects, we cannot help but take up in this space again the status of the Catalunan Grande road expansion implemented for the DPWH by Ulticon Builders, Inc.
Yes, there are several billboards put up by the contractor on the behest of the agency. But again, there is one important piece of information that has been missing therein that we suspect is deliberately done. We are referring to the total project cost.
The project covers the entire Catalunan road stretch starting from the junction of C.P. Garcia Diversion Highway up to the area where the same road meets with the Mintal-Tacunan barangay road.
Considering that it is a four-lane expansion and total rehabilitation with provision for drainage system, an eight-inch thick concrete pavement, and of course road right of way acquisition, then it is safe to assume that the project could cross the billion peso border if not close enough or even more.
But believe you us. As per information given on the billboards set up in strategic locations on the entire stretch of the road project, the completion date was still January of 2018. Now we are on the last month of the third quarter of 2019. That is roughly one year and eight months slippage of the project.
We have no doubt that the reason the contractor would give to any inquisitive road user could be the delay in the negotiation of the right of way. And we assume that this is so because until now there are still residential and commercial buildings that have remained untouched specifically those at the subdivision and commercial sites of the barangay.
But again, why are the DPWH and the contractor very demure as to the giving of information on the cause of the project delay?
One year and eight months delay as per agreed completion date is reason enough for the taxpayers to be concerned as to how their money is spent by the government.
Can the DPWH and Ulticon Builders executives be that callous as to remain silent on what ails the long delayed project?
(For comments and reactions we can be reached through our email address firstname.lastname@example.org, or at our mobile 09392980435.)