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ROUGH CUTS: Throwing canals ‘down the drain’

Here’s one food for thought. Or, you may call it something to make us think of the ineptness of some planners of infrastructure projects of the government.

And if you are the suspicious type you can think of such a project as another scheme for some corrupt officials to make money.

Of late we have noticed that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) or the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) has been implementing infrastructure projects big and small in Davao City. One of such projects we have known is the expansion of the width of certain concrete roads not just in the Davao City’s central business district (CBD) but also in the peripheral areas that are already part of the second and third congressional districts.

In Tugbok area for example some portions of cemented barangay roads are expanded by some .35 meters each side from its present width of 6 meters supposedly to make it conform to the standard width of 6.70 meters.

Personally we welcome such expansion although we have to admit that we do not agree that such width is enough to meet the desired safety protocols of that thoroughfare category.

But what is really the standard width of a barangay or secondary roads, concreted or not, or, say a primary highway? From our previous inquiries we learned that it is 6 meters. That is, three meters each lane. Further, we were told by some of our engineer friends working with the DPWH and the CEO that in cases of national highways the standard is, it should be 15 meters on both sides starting from the center.

Of course this question of ours is only for the purpose of our further education on that particular matter in government project implementation. What we are more concerned about is the apparent wanton destruction of existing infrastructure projects funded by monies coming from the Barangay Development Program of the city government.

Yes, the nearing completion of the barangay road expansion projects by .35 meters each side in several Tugbok district barangays have also resulted in the total destruction of some barangay open canal drainage system. These rip rapped open canals average in costs from P500 thousand to P1 million pesos, depending on the length. This type of drainage system has helped many barangays in the rural areas prevent inundation of its low-level portions.

Our question is, “How does the government treat such destruction of projects funded by the people’s money? Does the road expansion have a built-in provision for the inclusion of funds for the restoration or construction of a new drainage system on the very same roads where the side canals are destroyed?

Are not completed government infrastructure projects listed as among their current assets? We are aware that even the disposal of unserviceable government properties and destruction of old, dilapidated and unsafe buildings need to be advised to a particular office in government including the Commission on Audit (COA).

Now, what about the destruction of drainage canals on roads and highways affected by expansion projects of the government, how is this treated? Considering the number of drainage canals suddenly being subjected to its own purpose — that is, “thrown down the drain” literally, to give way to new projects products of government planners’ new ideas — the total amount of people’s money wasted could be humongous.

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We have noted lately that news broadcasts quoting Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte Carpio usually attribute as its source interviews or statements issued by the city chief executive through Disaster Radio.

Our readers would probably remember that this column has been advocating for the city to operate its own radio station to help it respond effectively to the Davaoenos’ need during times of emergencies. In fact we were giving unsolicited recommendations that this be run by people under the City Information Office (CIO) in close coordination with the local government’s Central Emergency Communications Unit.

Now that we are hearing the attribution to Disaster Radio of news reports on the mayor’s activities related to emergencies and others not directly covered by reporters from other news network, we feel safe in assuming that the LGU may now have assumed the operation of the said radio station, or bought a sizeable portion of its broadcast hours on block time arrangement.

This move is to us, very laudable and strategic especially in this time when the city government officials need to have a handle on situations that may develop as a consequence of the prevailing CoViD 19 pandemic and the possibility of other calamitous events happening in this part of the country.

But if we may be allowed to share our thoughts, we feel that there may still be need for the city to look into the reach of the station’s broadcast, knowing that Davao is so big and the larger portion of the city is in the rural and highland areas.

In other words, we are recommending that it has to look into aspects where the broadcast facilities can be improved. That would be the only way our fellow Davaoenos living in the boondocks can be made aware of upcoming potential disasters and calamities.

It certainly is useless if those who will be served by the emergency communications vehicle will only be people in the lowlands.

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