Middle of last week we wrote in this column our observation on the absence of a billboard providing details of government infrastructure projects. Specifically, we mentioned the expansion project of a stretch of the Davao-Bukidnon Highway from crossing Tagakpan up to Angalan Bridge in Los Amigos at the vicinity of a chicken dressing plant. It was based on our having passed by that area about a month ago.
Last Friday noon we traveled again on the same stretch of the said highway on our way to an upland community and back to our residence in the city proper. This time we already saw a billboard put up at the right side of the parallel road going to Los Amigos from Quarry (left side if going to downtown Davao).
Well, it is good to see a requirement for a government infrastructure project being complied with. But was such requirement really fulfilled as far as the expansion project of that highway stretch is concerned?
Take note of this: Such billboard is supposed to be installed in a conspicuous site or sites in the project location. For any traveler on board a moving vehicle, the billboard location for the herein infrastructure project is not conspicuous. But we would agree if motorists will say it is strategically located. Not only that it’s at the far side of the still unfinished lane of the highway it is also far from the lane currently in use. Why “strategic” yet not conspicuous?
The reasons may be simple. There is suspicion regarding the motives on the part of the contractor and the government agency implementing the project. It cannot be avoided as the site is the less likely expected for such an important piece of structure. The inscriptions are also hardly readable for anyone who is mobile.
First, the words on the billboard are inscribed in unusually small letters that any interested person has to stop and go near the billboard to read its contents. Second, the billboard front is totally parallel with the highway making very difficult for passers-by to see, much more read the inscriptions thereon. It should have been diagonally installed whichever direction the billboard is facing.
And worst, we have noted that while putting up of the billboard is complying with a requirement, in the case of the billboard for that highway expansion project, it is still far from complete. What with the absence of the information people want to know most about the project!
Why cannot the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) or the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) compel their contractors – or, their own offices – to put up billboards on their projects at the prescribed size, letter inscription, and supplying all the needed data of the project?
We believe it is not that difficult for the agencies to do, unless of course if they are hiding something from the people who are paying the taxes that the government spends for the projects.
Meanwhile, there is this drainage project undergoing implementation somewhere at the vicinity of the Special Education School (SPED) in Km. 6 in Bangkal, Talomo Proper.
We diverted our route from the highway using the interior roads where the drainage pipes are laid along one of the sides. Our purpose was to evade heavy traffic on the main route.
It was good to see that a billboard is installed at the project site giving us the impression that the agency implementing the same is transparent. But lo and behold, there indeed is a billboard but it is very much devoid of the important information that should be provided for the people to know.
In the light of the hardship that motor vehicle owners are experiencing in finding spaces in downtown Davao City to park maybe it is about time for the local government traffic managers to review their assignment of public utility vehicle pick-up and dropping areas (yellow boxes) for passengers.
We also believe that the time has come for them to revisit the ordinance banning business establishments to unilaterally allocate the roadsides fronting their stores and display areas or offices as exclusive parking spaces for their own and their customers’ vehicles. The road sides are government properties. Therefore the public has the right to use it. And that is the reason why the ordinance on traffic management has been passed and approved to ensure that the rights of the public are protected.
However, it seems apparent that the ordinance has remained in its original state – a piece of document with the signatures of the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the City Mayor on it.
As to the level of compliance by the target establishments we can safely say that it is far from accomplished. All interested Davaoenos need to do is to walk through the city’s roads in the main business district. For certain they will be able to figure out the failure level of such ordinance despite claims of some sectors in the local government that it is being religiously complied with.
Yes, we can only wonder whether the establishments have all applied for exemption from the coverage of the ordinance and granted by the Sanggunian.
Well, all our councilors have service vehicles, so are the offices of the city’s traffic managers. May be they can do some rounds in the city proper and see the actual situation for themselves.