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FLEA MARKET OF IDEAS

Dysfunctional roads

Life in our islands will be so much better if our government agencies take to heart that the ultimate objective of their jobs is to improve the welfare of our communities.

Our public officials assume that their rendition of public services automatically results in public good. It’s a grievously mistaken notion. And it’s for this reason that our public services are impaired by dysfunction.

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Let me focus on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and share observations on some dysfunctional road infrastructure.

A nationwide program to widen our major highways from two lanes to four lanes was commenced during the Noynoy Aquino administration, and continues under the current Duterte administration. There have been many highways expanded thanks to this construction program. The program is very praiseworthy, but its execution is marred by horrendous sights of electric and telephone posts standing atrociously in the middle of the additional concrete lanes. This has happened because, horror of horrors, the posts were not transferred and repositioned prior to the cementing of the additional outer lanes on both sides of the highway.

My blood boils every time I encounter these absurd and surreal scenes, because the new lanes are rendered absolutely useless due to the perilous obstructions.

These standing displays of gross incompetence can be seen in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela, and one cannot discount the possibility that this is repeated in other provinces. I leave it to readers nationwide to collate and report similar shameless spectacles in their respective provinces.

These demonstrations of brazen irresponsibility may have happened in either the past or current administration. These may have been due to lack of notice given by the DPWH to the electric or telephone companies, or the grossly negligent failure of the utility companies to move the posts despite due notice of the impending road concreting expansion.

What’s urgent and important now is for the DPWH to cause the companies concerned to immediately relocate the posts outside of the cemented roads, so that these safety hazards can be removed with dispatch.

The DPWH must next commence an investigation and file the necessary administrative, civil and even criminal charges against the responsible regional or provincial DPWH officers involved, or the negligent utility companies. If there were incidents of death or injury resulting from the hazardous posts, the victims’ families can file criminal and tort cases.

In Metro Manila, a dysfunctional road condition that unnerves commuters daily is the portion of the southbound segment of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) Skyway that connects to the airport Skyway. When cars coming from the SLEx Skyway veer to the right to connect to the airport Skyway, they encounter cars veering to the left because they are entering the Skyway via the Magallanes entry ramp.

The crisscrossing of cars causes horrendous traffic during rush hour. As a result, the Skyway system is rendered utterly useless in facilitating speed and convenience. Commuters headed to the airport must avoid this portion of the Skyway during rush hour, lest they miss their flights. The government should move the Magallanes Skyway entry ramp to solve this dysfunctional design.

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Lastly, rush hour commuters from the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) who head to Edsa via Kalayaan Avenue have long been tortured by the funnel-like effect of merging traffic before reaching Edsa. Because of this, traffic in BGC is even more terrible compared to the Makati business district during rush hour. The government must provide a solution to this dysfunctional road problem, because BGC is fast becoming an unattractive business destination.

The DPWH may not have total control over the Skyway and BGC roads. But as the lead government agency in charge of our country’s road network, it can employ an assortment of ways to imbue public service with public good.

Comments to [email protected]

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TAGS: DPWH, dysfunctional roads, Flea Market of Ideas, Joel Ruiz Butuyan
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