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ROUGH CUTS: Delaying restoration is reneging on responsibility

SOMETIME last year the Davao City Water District (DCWD) started fulfilling its promise to extend water distribution service to far-flung barangays in the third district. One beneficiary area of the water firm’s commitment is Barangay Biao Joaquin which is part of Calinan District.

Naturally, if water is to be brought to the households pipes will be laid underground either along the road or right below its surface. So when the water service was extended to Biao Joaquin DCWD destroyed at least a fourth of the 2-lane concrete road on the stretch between crossing Barangay Talomo River and Biao Joaquin Elementary School going to Barangay Talandang, Tugbok district.

The digging and pipe laying took some time leaving barely a little over 3 meters of the 5-meter road open for vehicular traffic.
Somehow, commuters passing on the said barangay road were apparently unmindful. What with potable water available in household faucets once the project is completed. And completed – rather, almost — the project was before the CoViD 19 pandemic set in early this year.

This time residents in the area were already enjoying the luxury of having water in the household anytime they needed it. From long hours of waiting for their erratic schedule of water coming from the barangay source, people in this place were no longer worried of not catching up with the availability of water from the barangay-operated deep wells. They even started disposing of their plastic gallons and other containers.

Meanwhile, DCWD also started covering the dug portion of the road with the soil it extracted from its diggings. When the filling materials started levelling with the concrete surface of the remaining portion of the road people started noticing the slow disappearance of DCWD workers or that of its contractors.

We, being a regular weekly commuter from our rural residence using the said barangay road, also noticed the stop of activities of the water firm on that particular stretch we have earlier mentioned.

Nonetheless, we provided our own justification for the disappearance of workers. We assumed that they were just waiting for the earthfill to sink in and settle to its stable level for them to restore the destroyed portion to its concrete status.

We also theorized that the water distribution firm in Davao City ordered the work stoppage since the city was put under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) during the early part of the CoViD pandemic. So it could be a measure to prevent any member of the team working on the project from getting infected by the deadly virus.

Therefore, we allowed our suspicion of DCWD infidelity to its commitment to some degree of flexibility. That is, that the water distributor did the right thing when it stopped work on the restoration of the damage its contractors have done on the barangay road.

So, when the national government put Davao City under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) category from the start of September, we were among the many who were elated by the thought that finally the restoration work of the destroyed Biao Joaquin-Calinan barangay road will be resumed.

In fact our expectation was even heightened when of late, we saw people installing warning markers and notices announcing that “restoration work is on-going.” Then, during the second week of September people saw wooden forms set up on the portions to be re-concreted. Now every passer-by is positive the destroyed road stretch will soon be fully back to its normal condition and the road width back to 2-lane.

But two weeks have passed and still no concrete restoration has been started. We do not know what is holding the DCWD from proceeding with its primary responsibility of putting back the barangay road in order.

We are certain that the reason why the City Engineer’s Office (CEO), or may be the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have consented to the diggings is because of the water distributor’s commitment to restore the same after it shall have put in place the water pipes.

Meanwhile, the road leading to Calinan from barangay Talandang has become a rural EDSA of Davao City. What with another water production company which is also a partner of DCWD doing its own diggings on the opposite side of the same road.

This DCWD partner is virtually occupying the whole half of the 2-lane barangay road in order to put underground its 60-inch diameter steel pipe intended to transport in bulk the processed surface water from Tamugan and Suwawan Rivers to the various elevated water reservoirs of DCWD in Biao Joaquin, Mandug, Cabantian, Panacan and in a Bunawan barangay.

With only one lane left for use, vehicle lines from both approaches extend to almost a kilometer long. It is even worse on the stretch that is left unrestored to its normal condition by the DCWD. And the diggings by its partner firm has not even started!
Can the DCWD top officials find time to visit that particular unrestored portion of what its line extension project has destroyed?

Maybe by doing so, the restoration work can be pursued with some degree of speed. We are somewhat afraid that any further delay in the restoration work could be a purveyor of possible road accidents.

Or, would DCWD rather wait for such mishaps to happen before it can be goaded to do make good its share in the bargain?

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