Last of two parts
[The first part of this column appeared on Sunday April 12]
THE rush job of REBLOCKING along EDSA in Makati and C-5 in Pasig done by the Department of Public Works & Highways (DPWH) during the Holy Week holidays showed the unbridled corruption in that department. Of course, they had to do it when the myriad residents of Metro Manila had gone out of town for the holidays.
Under the DaangMatuwid of the sanctimonious Aquino administration, DPWH shamelessly demolished good concrete portions of EDSA and C-5 and replaced the said sections with substandard concrete. The surface of the pavement already indicates what shoddy work was done. Worse, the contiguous lanes were damaged because the DPWH contractors did not even slice the concrete sections to be demolished. Pathetic!
DPWH started its REBLOCKING program of work on Holy Thursday and opened it to traffic along EDSA and C-5 in three days on Easter Sunday! Amazing Avarice ! Concrete is known to attain its designed strength in 21, 14 or 7 days depending on the mix of the concrete. To realize its compressive strength only in three days is questionable.
The leadership of DPWH under Secretary Rogelio Singson did the same thing last year during Holy Week along EDSA in Makati. The completion of the REBLOCKING was supposedly rushed for the forthcoming World Economic Forum (WEF) Summit in Manila in May 2014. However, the pavement immediately cracked once it was opened to traffic. Singson said the cracks would be repaired with epoxy injection that is very expensive.
The funny thing was that Secretary Singson blamed the Metropolitan Manila Authority (MMDA) for forcing the DPWH to prematurely open the REBLOCKED sections along EDSA. ABS-CBN News interviewed me for comments on the cracks that they saw on the new concrete placed by DPWH. It must be tough to profess probity and yet not know what you are doing in your job.
Saga of DWPH Insanity in Baguio
In my column of April 12 last Sunday, I disclosed the never-ending insanity of the DWPH in the summer capital with its REBLOCKING projects. When we were in Baguio last week, we were told that there were fewer visitors during Holy Week due to the threat of an impending typhoon and the humongous traffic caused by the ongoing DPWH projects.
Due to the notorious traffic along the national road linking Baguio City to La Trinidad, the capital of Benguet province, we took the backdoor route via Long-long and passed through Lt. Tacay Road. On our way down to Naguilan Road going back to Baguio, we were shocked to see that the DPWH had demolished one lane of Quezon Hill Road 2 and one lane of Mallare Road on the left side.
Looking at the remaining lane of Quezon Hill Road 2, it was obvious to us that what the DPWH demolished was a well-paved road with asphalt overlay on top of concrete. Is this what President B. S. Aquino 3rd means with DaangMatuwid? The straight path to hell?
It is really a challenge to comprehend how the favorite government agency of President Aquino does its work. First, its priority in Baguio should be to widen Magsaysay Avenue that connects Baguio City to La Trinidad to ease the traffic congestion. It should be a continuous four-lane highway with sidewalks on both sides for pedestrians.
However, after almost five years of the Aquino administration with billions of pesos spent on public works in Metro Baguio or BLIST (Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablang-Tuba), Magsaysay Ave. has not been completely widened until today. Yet DPWH is giving priority to REBLOCKING that only exacerbates the traffic situation. It is truly amazing how DPWH does things with its “5 Rs” that includes the “Right Project!”
Likewise, instead of doing simple asphalt overlay along the Baguio – Bontoc Road (after doing repairs on the concrete pavement) in front of the Benguet State University (BSU), the DPWH prefers to do REBLOCKING ! Why? Because the project cost is higher than with asphalt overlay. Lower project cost means lower “commissions” for DPWH officials, which is not good for their pockets.
The DPWH now has an ongoing project there worth P44,848,444.84 for the “Widening with Drainage &Reblocking on Poor & Bad Sections along the Baguio-Bontoc Rd.” in front of the BSU. I am all for its widening so that it would become a continuous four-lane national highway. In fact, as mentioned earlier, this is what DPWH should be doing along Magsaysay Ave. going to Baguio City from La Trinidad. But it is not!
Once again, DPWH is much infatuated with its REBLOCKING program of work shamelessly destroying good concrete sections in order to concrete them again. The worse part is when the favored contractors of DPWH replace them with inferior concrete of substandard strength and lousy finish on the pavement surface and/or instant cracking.
I am not aware nor have heard of flooding issues in front of the BSU campus. Thus, it is rather surprising to see that DPWH is now replacing the existing drainage system with new concrete pipes and new slab on top that also serves as the sidewalk.
The P44.85 million project was started on Feb. 13, 2015 and will be completed on August 13, 2015. It only has a short length of a little less than one kilometer (1.0 km) at K0255 +380 – K0256 + 172. So why should it take six months to finish it?
Another case of insanity in Iloilo City
We were in Iloilo in late March and were appalled at the road-widening project of Senate President Franklin Drilon. The four-lane national highway in Iloilo City is now being widened at some sections of the Benigno Aquino, Jr. Ave. (Diversion Road) to 12-lanes that makes it WIDER than EDSA !!! Four lanes on each direction or a total eight lanes are being added near the residence of administration Congressman Gerry Treñas.
Last year, the DPWH did the same widening along Aquino Ave. in the vicinity of SM Iloilo with ten-lanes that include a two-lane service road on the northbound direction. Well, the problem with the overkill of the DPWH is there is hardly any space left for parking that vehicles now park on the wide pedestrian sidewalk with those nice pavers.
There is even an additional wide area (10 meters) with interlocking pavers for bikers and joggers. However, I hardly saw people walking or biking there.
Lastly, the DPWH also widened the major thoroughfare of Iloilo City (J. Luna Rd.) that serves no purpose at all. The center-island was reduced by half a meter on both sides. So what can an additional 20 inches in width do to improve the traffic flow? It does not add an extra lane on both sides of the national road in Iloilo. Ludicrous!