THE saying comes from American discourse about government–not about appliances. The Phrase Finder website says,—under the article titled “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”—it means, “If something is working adequately well, leave it alone.” There’s a happy little essay about Stone Age implements which segues to this discussion: “The thought may be Stone Age but the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, which sounds as though it might come from the Roosevelt or Truman era, is more recent than that. This one is widely attributed to T. Bert (Thomas Bertram) Lance, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in Jimmy Carter’s 1977 administration. He was quoted in the newsletter of the US Chamber of Commerce, Nation’s Business, May 1977.”
Apparently, Bert Lance thought he could save the US government billions if he could get it to adopt the simple motto: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And he said that the trouble with government “Fixing things that aren’t broken and not fixing things that are broken.”
And this seems to be what Congressman-elect Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao del Norte), who will soon become the Speaker of the House of Representatives because he is soon-to-be-President Rody Duterte’s choice, plans to do with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
He will, he said in a TV interview, push for the removal of the work of building roads, bridges and highways from the Department of Public Works and Highways and transfer it to the Department of Transportation and Communications which has ceased to be that but is only the “Department of Transportation” because Communications has ceased to be under it since the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) was recently created.
He said, “Highway construction should properly belong to the transportation department because transportation and roads are related. Anyway, public works is already very large.”
But the DOT/DOTC still has the problem of fixing the very serious LRT and MRT problems. The LRT extension to Cavite has not actually begun but already half a billion pesos has been spent on it. How can the future Speaker even think of adding to its functions that of building the nation’s road, bridges and highways? Doesn’t he realize that the transportation functions of DOTC are vast and faced with so many problems and that adding the construction of roads, highways and bridges to it would result in more disasters?
Is this move a power play against Rep. Mark Villar, the very talented young man and achiever, whom President-elect Duterte has named to be the DPWH secretary?
We hope Speaker-to-be Alvarez reconsiders and let Congressman Villar be the secretary of the complete DPWH and apply his talents, which he amply demonstrated as a private sector executive, in that job.