For our next “Issue Spotlight”, let us tackle one of the most active government agencies: the Department of Public Works and Highways or DPWH. When infrastructure is brought up in the table of discussion, the common thing that comes to mind are road constructions since they have been the common projects by DPWH, if not pipe laying efforts with Maynilad that requires road rehabilitations by the road works bureau. Now, this is an important area to discuss, as during the first quarter of the year, the agency, as reported by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), boosted a high obligation rate to a Php 211 billion of its Php 479-billion allotment. It pretty seems apparent from the swarm of road repairs that circled the Metro. It is also notable that before the term of President Noynoy Aquino ends, DPWH has allotted Php 357 billion for this year, a 30% increase from the initial Php 273.9 billion allotment. And the adminstration even reported a proposed Php 3 trillion budget allotted for 2016.
Sounds great right? Unfortunately, that budget amounts to blocking road lanes and breaking them for rehabilitation. This explains the extensive road works that sprouted out of nowhere before the election ban. While I can easily attest that this is an easy way for candidates to get recognized for their name-placing efforts, the biggest victim of this scenario is the public. I can argue that even with amount of effort done on planning for the improvement of our infrastructure, I can tell that its execution is where things fall apart.
It is hard to travel at this period, where election campaigns flocks, candidates parade around the streets and still road works are being crammed in the last minute. On my daily travels to work, I encounter at least nine road works, and only one of them involve road repairs, due to concrete damage. I truly can say that DPWH is doing their projects at the worst time. But something frustrating to note, some projects go from over a year. Nothing surprising, isn’t it?
As you may remember, I mentioned in my other Issue Spotlight blog about traffic that I indicate road constructions as one of the causes of traffic. Traffic congestion aside, the main reason why infrastructure should be at the hotseat at this point is because it solely does not rest on road works, but bridges, highways, railways, airways, energy reserves and their maintenance. As it holds the main route where the economy is dependent on, it is easy to say with poor infrastructure comes poor economic performance. And what worse if disasters strike? (Spoiler: This is the next for “Issue Spotlight”.)
So note to electoral candidates: do not cram infrastructure. As a crucial part of the country’s stability, take this issue with a keen eye and an insightful planning. Infrastructure should not be a political tool. Because everyone should benefit from it, including the government. As for the public, let us brace on what repercussions can incur from still progressing infrastructure. But in a positive note, out of our infrastructural projects comes this: