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Rough Cuts | Why are they so callous?

We do not have any idea that officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the City Engineer’s Office (CEO), and the Commission on Audit (COA) are not reading local newspapers. For if they do read, they must be sporting the most callous of faces that they seem unaffected by the issues raised in this column regarding the “white elephant” component of some overpass projects like the ones in Calinan and Mintal, and perhaps in several other places in Davao City.

Yes, time and again we took up in this column the inclusion of two units of elevators in the overpass projects we have mentioned in this space. We have not seen, or used even for once, the said elevators since the projects’ completion. We have attempted, but it was of no use because the elevators were not functional.

We are aware that the lifts are quite costly and in all likelihood these must have taken a big percentage of the overpass’ overall budget. But instead of having the lifts put to use especially for senior citizens and those with physical disabilities, these are laying idol for years already. As we have taken up in the column when we last wrote about the projects, the elevator’s control mechanisms which can be seen outside are already deteriorating. Any Tom, Dick and Harry, including those with problems in their sights can very well discern the sorry state of the elevators as well as its control panels.

Not only that. Even the overpasses are also getting its share of the deterioration. What with the overpasses’ lack of maintenance. The stoppers in between the overpass’ stairs are already detached.

And it could fall off any time. The unlucky Davaoeno who happens to be on the site when one of the stair stoppers falls would surely be left with something to remember. That is, if luck is with him or her.

Yet, in all these, no single DPWH, CEO or COA personnel made any reaction. They act like no one is around and that there is nothing that they could care about.

They could have helped enlighten the public why the elevators are virtually dead assets for so long even as these cost the taxpayers millions of pesos. We now could not help but think that the lifts are included as components of the project for purposes of putting up a big budget for such projects. It is from the budget that the proponents of the projects can best serve their own greed – the percentage of the total cost that is usually demanded by unscrupulous government officials.

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Davaoenos are now in frenzy only about a week before Christmas. The “haves” are busy spending their money for whatever activity they intend to do during the Christmas holidays. The “have nots” are busy as well, thinking how they could make the most out of their limited finances. The working men and women are hoping for the release of their Christmas bonuses, assuming that they will be given. For those who have already received theirs and were unable to foresee other expenditures during the holiday seasons, they are likely scratching their heads where to get additional cash in time for the Christmas celebration.

Nevertheless, we can clearly observe that the revelry seems to effectively hide the people’s financial problems. What seems to surface in their aura is that of being overly happy that they are still very much around this Christmas and not suffering as much as the people in areas directly affected by the series of high intensity earthquakes.

Yes, happy are we that despite the proximity of our place to the towns of Davao del Sur and the provinces of South Cotabato and Cotabato, we are not suffering the fate they are presently confronted with.

Indeed, our Davao City is lucky that it has escaped the wraths of nature that were the series of strong earthquakes including the one last Sunday. No employer can make the earthquake destructions as reason for not giving Christmas bonuses.

But it is very likely a different story in the places hard hit by the temblors as almost all economic activities are in a stand-still. Even local governments could be in dire situation finding the money for bonuses and other holiday incentives.

We even suspect that they may request for a deferment of the release of such monetary perks.

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