BY VIC N. SUMALINOG
Today the government, specifically the national, is busy implementing various infrastructure projects in Mindanao as well as in the rest of the country. But we would want to focus our observation on the different development projects being implemented in our own city – Davao.
Yes, we have seen a good number of road constructions, ranging from opening of new ones, to expansion and/or concreting of existing road network.
Other than roads and drainage projects we have also personally seen the construction of new bridges, although the most awaited one to be started – the Davao mainland-Island Garden City of Samal multi-billion pesos bridge is still all words or paper, and no work done.
Among the more noticeable road projects are the long-delayed Catalunan Grande road expansion from 2-lanes to four lanes; the expansion and concreting of the Catalunan Grande-Tacunan road up to its boundary with Matina Biao; the expansion of the Matina Biao-Biao Escuela-Talandang road by .35 meter both sides.
We have also seen the concreting of the Talandang-Banarao road in the third district measuring 6.70 meters in width. We are also aware of the cementing of the Talandang-Luman barangay road which will connect with a 100-meter long 4-lane concrete bridge that will span Davao River from Luman to Lapoy in Mandug area.
Hopefully, the people of Davao City are looking forward to the completion by end of 2022, the year President Rodrigo Duterte’s term will end, of the following infrastructure projects:
– the Davao City Bypass Road;
– the Davao City Coastal Road;
– the secondary routes between the Davao City Bypass Road and the Davao City Diversion Road;
– the extension of the Diversion Road to Toril;
– the Davao Riverside Blvd. together with river improvement projects
– the secondary roads to serve newly urbanized areas;
– the construction of the Buhangin-Bunawan Bypass Road;
– the construction of the Talomo-Calinan Bypass Road; and
– the continuous secondary road development.
There is no iota of doubt that these big ticket infrastructure projects are most welcome by the people of Davao who, we believe, are expecting much from a President who is one of their own.
However, the most nagging question that Davaoenos are afraid to ask much as they are afraid to even guess for an answer is: Will all these projects be completed as scheduled?
Experience will tell us that the politics dictating the governance in our country is kind of riding on the so-called “Weather weather lang” situation. That is, whoever is at the helm of power holds the rein in accordance with his personal agenda, ethnic and regional biases.
So, with the constraints that the government may be encountering because of the drain of its resources as a consequence of the Corona Virus Disease (CoViD 19) pandemic, the likelihood is that the health and well-being of the population will be given priority over other physical development projects.
Thus, the possibility of putting the big-ticket infrastructure projects on hold even on a temporary basis, would not be remote.
And as far as the projects now ongoing in Davao City are concerned, we can see that these have better chances of completion as most are already in the implementation stage or are already approved budget. The possible bar though was the long lull in the construction activities due to the lock downs and the quarantine measure mandated to be complied.
Yes, the more than a month of stoppage in the work on road and bridge construction, has resulted to a huge down time loss. Therefore, the time table for the completion of the concerned infrastructure projects has to be adjusted way farther.
One example of a potentially delayed project is the Luman-Lapoy bridge that connects the third and second districts of Davao City.
We have talked to an executive of the bridge contractor, P.L. Sebastian Construction Corp. He told us that his firm could have assembled all the needed heavy and other construction equipment, materials and even prepared the project site during the one month that the workers were rendered idle due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
But the workers need to comply with the work stoppage order or they’ll risk getting infected by the deadly virus.
The P.L. Sebastian officially confided to us that his bosses too, are praying that the CoViD pandemic will vanish and the situation of the country goes back to normal. If this happens then their work on the projects they have won in biddings will be fully resumed.
The construction firm, the official further told us, also hopes that the end of the health emergency will also restore the country’s economic viability thereby ensuring that what have been budgeted for the infrastructure projects in Davao City and other parts of the Philippines will not anymore be diverted to the government’s response efforts against the pandemic.