The Philippines used to have the same term of office for the President as that of the United States: four years per term and a second term upon re-election. This was for a period of more than 25 years from 1946 to 1973. It only changed after Martial Law was declared in September 1972 and a new Constitution was made and ratified in 1973 under the Marcos regime.
Then came the EDSA One Revolt in February 1986, which toppled the Marcos dictatorship through People Power. A new constitution was crafted by a Constitutional Commission (ConCom) and ratified in a plebiscite in 1987. The new presidential system has a fixed term of office of six (6) years for the President of the Philippines.
However, as I wrote in my column in BusinessWorld in the 1990s, the fixed six-year term of office is too short for a good president and too long for a bad one.
Hence, if we still have the same four-year term of office for the President before Martial Law, the first term of President Benigno S. Aquino III would end less than two months from now on 30 June 2014. Thus, we can already make a performance appraisal of the first term of President B. S. Aquino III.
It is amazing that the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila have not been fixed after almost four years of the Aquino administration. As I wrote in my column last week (MT, 26 April 2014) entitled “EDSA Reblocking Anomalies,” the country’s most famous and historical national highway (EDSA or C-4) has not been rehabilitated in the past three years (2011-2013).
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has only started work early this year in January because of the foreigners who will be attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) this May 2014 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in November 2015. This is truly very sad because the DPWH under the Aquino presidency is only fixing EDSA for the benefit of our foreign guests to avoid national embarrassment and not for the benefit of the Filipino people – first and foremost!
However, what is even worse than the flawed line of reasoning for the repair and rehabilitation is that the delegates won’t even be passing EDSA because the delegates-guests will be billeted in Makati and Manila and the venue of the meetings will also be in the two cities.
However, what is worst is is that the DPWH and their contractors are doing the rehabilitation all wrong. First, more than 50% of the sections of EDSA being reblocked need not be demolished because they can still be repaired. Second, the quality concrete being used is dubious with the cracks on the pavement that has surfaced.
Third, the reblocking done damaged the edges of the concrete contiguous to sections that were torn down. This is because of the carelessness of the operators of the jack-hammer heavy equipment and the fact that remaining concrete sections were not cut or sliced from the “broken areas.” This is really all common sense, but the DPWH does not really care at all or does not know any better.
It is also very interesting is that the repair that should be fixed is only less than 500 meters away from the residence of DPWH Secretary Singson in Magallanes Village in Makati. These are the flyovers in front of Magallanes from the ramp going up (south-bound) and down (north-bound) above Pasong Tamo Avenue (now Chino Roces Avenue).
The areas long overdue for repairs are from Osmeña Highway, which is the continuation of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Surprisingly, they have not been fixed in spite the DPWH Secretary passing there regularly from and back to his house in Magallanes Village. It must really be tough when the top official does not know any better.
The other section of EDSA which has not been attended to in spite of it causing the vehicles to slow down is from Taft Avenue to Tramo Road in Pasay City. This is only a short distance of three hundred (300) meters, but he DPWH has not even paved it with a simple asphalt overlay. Perhaps they would do it before the World Economic Forum Conference three weeks from today.
After EDSA or Circumferential Road 4 (C4) is the Carlos P Garcia Avenue that is better known as Circumferential Road 5 or C5. It’s the same situation here where there are two sections along C5 – one section per direction – with a total length of three kilometers that should have preventive maintenance of milling and asphalt overlay. Apparently, the modus operandi of DPWH is to allow these sections to further deteriorate in order to justify the far more expensive reblocking.
It is intriguing to note that what the DPWH has done in C5 is similar to what they did to C4 or EDSA. This is to destroy or demolish the concrete pavement paved with asphalt and reblocking these sections with what is supposed to be superior concrete. Yet the roads in private development in Makati like the Ayala-owned properties and Rockwell, Fort Bonifacio in Taguig, Ortigas Center in Pasig and Mandaluyong, and the Fil-invest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa does not use concrete in their roads, but asphalt.
The asphalt pavement of the ramp going up to the entrance of the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig City from C5 (north-bound) has severely deteriorated in the past two years (2012-2014). But either the DPWH or the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) has not fixed it. Yet in 2012, BCDA built a two-lane flyover from BGC to C5 (north-bound) worth over P100 million.
Lastly, the state of disrepair of the infamous Diosdado Macapagal Avenue located in Parañaque and Pasay that was exposed as overpriced by P700 million during the incumbency of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. After almost four years of the Aquino administration, the damaged sections of the eight-lane Macapagal Avenue have not been fixed with a simple milling, minor repairs and asphalt overlay.
Amazing that the DPWH or the Public Estate Authority (PEA), now Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), has not done any work of asphalting these sections that have deteriorated.
What have been mentioned are the major roads in Metro Manila like EDSA (C4), C.P. Garcia Avenue (C5) and the D. Macapagal Avenue that passes through the six (6) cities of the country’s National Capital Region (NCR). They are the most visible to Filipinos and foreigners alike and to both government officials and the citizenry.
Yet almost nothing has been done and done right. I must concede with the criticism that the Aquino Presidency is a “Do Nothing & Good for Nothing” government.