You know it is election season in the Philippines when “road repairs” suddenly sprout along thoroughfares that do not really need them. While the corruption this symbolizes is usually anecdotal and hard to prove in court, the nuisance they cause is very real. This is especially true when the “improvement/concreting” is done haphazardly on the one and only access road of a mixed-use neighborhood.
The two narrow lanes of Gertrudes Street in Barangay (village) Mambugan, Antipolo City, Rizal, lead into several middle-class subdivisions and large establishments, including wet markets, schools, a cement factory, a biscuit manufacturer and a bus company garage. It is quite literally the only route in and out of the area for thousands of residents in private or public vehicles and for business with 18-wheeler trucks and container vans. Although this street has its share of potholes and is inadequately paved in some spots from previous water works, it does not merit a major overhaul that in effect chokes the life of the community.
About three weeks ago, the intrepid contractor started boring holes and tore up one lane to pour in new concrete. Now, instead of doing the job in small sections, the enthusiastic contractor went on to upheave a long swath of pavement before even one segment of cement had cured.
Bad enough for vehicles from opposite directions to navigate using only one lane, but the street has a long blind curve—precisely along where the genius contractor opted to do the road repair.
Because approaching vehicles cannot see each other from opposite ends, no less than three personnel have to be in place to direct traffic. Unfortunately, at the critical hours of early morning, when kids are rushing to school, or when truck deliveries are being made late at night, these personnel are nowhere to be found.
The daily commute is already a grind without having to contend with traffic congestion literally a minute away from your doorstep. To add insult to injury, the epal poster of a beaming governor claiming credit and expecting thanks for the project is now prominently placed at the intersection of Sumulong Highway and Gertrudes Street. Let’s just say that his surname is now synonymous with “yncompetence,” “ynconvenience” and “ynconsiderate.” His road repairs only contribute to more road rage—hopefully voter rage, as well.