THERE appears to be No End to the unbridled corruption at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), a favorite government agency of President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd whose leadership he greatly admires.
Last Tuesday, April 7, President Aquino inaugurated a bridge in Isabela and once again commended the DPWH “leadership of Secretary Rogelio Singson.” As usual, P-Noy once again took the golden opportunity of blaming the past administration of their failure to build the bridge that was damaged in 1993.
Of course, what the pathetic President B.S. Aquino 3rd will never tell and admit to the Filipino people and the world is that the past three presidents before him – Fidel V. Ramos (FVR), Joseph Estrada (ERAP), and Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA) – started and built more public infrastructure than him. In a short span of 2.5 years of the Estrada presidency, ERAP initiated the 88-km Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) that was completed during GMA’s time.
The P773 Million Lullutan Bridge is another “concrete proof” (to use his own words) of the Never-Ending corruption in the DPWH under the Daang Matuwid Aquino administration. With a length of 500 linear meters, it should cost P250 million at P500,000 per linear meter (LM). Hence, an Obscene Overprice of P500 Million!!!
The price of P500,000 per LM is the cost for high-quality bridges in the private sector. This is what it will cost property developers like Ayala Land, SM Prime Holdings, DMCI and others in their projects. In fact, P500,000 was the cost of the elevated Skyway along South Luzon Expressway(SLEX).
The 420-meter Mambaling flyover in Cebu City only cost P110 million when it was built by DPWH in April of 2011. Thus, the cost of P262,000 per LM!!! Even if you double the figure due to inflation and increase in DWPH corruption, it should be P500,000 per LM. But the P773-million 500-meter Lullutan Bridge in Isabela inaugurated by PNoy cost THREE TIMES at P1,546,000 per LM.
Yet President B.S. Aquino 3rd has the brazen temerity — or just sheer stupidity — to cite the “5Rs” of the DPWH “under the leadership of Secretary Rogelio Singson” – the “Right Project, Right Quality, Right People, Right Time and the Right Cost.” For starters, we can be sure the Lullutan Bridge was NOT BUILT at the Right Cost!!!
To give you an idea of the shameless and obscene overprice, the 1.23 km four-lane tunnel in Cebu City built during the last year of the President GMA cost P1,341,000 per LM. Even factor in inflation of 20 percent over the past 4.5 years and it will cost you only P1.6 M per linear meter. The two-lane Lullutan Bridge cost P1.546M per LM. Remember that the Cebu Tunnel has FOUR LANES!!!
Shameless corruption in Manila and Baguio
The REBLOCKING by DPWH along EDSA and C-5 during the Holy Week caused humongous traffic. The worst part is that there was NO NEED to destroy the concrete pavement along EDSA and C-5 since they were still in good condition. If there were any minor cracks, they could easily be repaired. Worst part is that DPWH will spend another P3.7 billion along EDSA for the asphalt overlay.
Based on the monitoring of the Citizens Infrastructure Integrity Watchdog (InfraWatch) for the past five years (2010-2015), Baguio City holds the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt far as DPWH projects are concerned. Among the regional centers, Baguio comes close to Iloilo City, which is the “Corruption Capital of PH” when it comes to public infrastructure that involves the DPWH, DoTC and the LGU.
Baguio is the regional center of the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR), while Iloilo is the regional center or Western Visayas (Region VI).
InfraWatch exposed the shameless corruption in Baguio City last November 2011. Then again in May 2014 just after the Holy Week. For 2015, DPWH is very much at it again starting last month of March.
(Disclosure: This writer is the Executive Director of InfraWatch)
What has become the brand or “trademark” of the DPWH Daang Matuwid is it’s nefarious “REBLOCKING” projects where good concreted pavements are destroyed only to be concreted again. During the holidays last Holy Week, DPWH did its despicable “REBLOCKING” on roads perpendicular to Session Road (near the Cathedral) and Leonard Wood Road (beside Cabinet Hill). What is worse here, as what the DPWH contractors did in EDSA and C-5, is that the sections of the roads “REBLOCKED” are not even cut/sliced (longitudinal) first so as not to damage the contiguous sections or lanes.
The brazen temerity of the DPWH-CAR is further demonstrated by the flagrant “REBLOCKING” of the Sto. Tomas Road leading to Green Valley and to the top of the mountains where the radar stations are located. The 200-meter section that has been demolished and is being concreted located is in front of the Dairy Farm of the Department of Agriculture. The Sto. Tomas Road, which starts at the Marcos Highway, is well-paved with asphalt overlay.
The District Engineering Office in Baguio has also undertaken road-widening that serves no purpose to add capacity because they are narrow at 1.5-2.0 meters wide and are not continuous. They will just become parking areas along the national highway, such as in Kennon Road and along Ferguson Road fronting the huge property of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the CAR. This type of road-widening projects by the DPWH has been done in other areas in Luzon, such as Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road in Laguna near SLEX.
Speaking of the 30-km Kennon Road that begins at Camp 1 in Tuba, Benguet and runs to Baguio City, it is amazing that it is not a smooth, well-paved national road in spite of the hundreds of millions of pesos spent by the Daang Matuwid Aquino Administration. Instead of doing simple and fast asphalt-overlay on the pavement, Secretary Singson would prefer the more expensive and unnecessary “REBLOCKING” that leads to bigger project costs that benefit both the contractors and officials of DPWH.
Residents of Baguio and environs (Tuba, Sto. Tomas, La Trinidad and Sabang), as well as visitors to the country’s summer capital can only shake their heads and wonder why DPWH indulges in such acts of insanity. But then, corruption in the favorite government agency of PNoy has become so inordinate (excessive) that lunacy may be an understatement.
‘Congratulations’ to DPWH on its ‘achievements’
After almost five years of the Aquino administration, perhaps it is time to “congratulate” DPWH for its outstanding “achievements” that will become its legacy to the Filipino people. Other than its notorious “REBLOCKING,” DPWH has implemented asphalt-overlay that is not even needed on national highways, such as Sucat Road (A. Santos Ave.) in Parañaque and the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road in Laguna.
Worse, DPWH applied double asphalt overlay 5cms (4 inches) thick so that pavements are now as high or higher – than the sidewalks. Worst, DPWH created a problem for vehicles crossing these raised/elevated national roads.