I was a child when my mother and I started to travel the North Cotabato-Davao road.
Travelling along the “humpy-bumpy” road is like riding a wild horse.
Dusty when it’s sunny and murky when its rainy.
I was so happy, seeing workers cementing portions of the cracked stretch of barangay from Dolo highway, in the municipality of Miral (now Bansalan), Davao del Sur up to Franklin
baker in Sta. Cruz .
In every site, a huge billboard was displayed “slow down, men working ahead”. That was literally 42 years ago now.
My hope turn to despair and anger, the unfinished road widened its stretch–no reaching as far as Barangay Inawayan, still, in Davao del Sur.
Some of the glaring unfinished projects include the highways from Inawayan to Darong to Bato, Santa Cruz, and up to Dolo highway.
Motorist have been complaining about these unfinished roads for decades.
While the government continue to fund the repair, rehabilitation and widening of these projects, taxpayers lose millions, as they need to charge tires, shocks, tie-rod-end, bushing and
other parts as their vehicles endure the humps and bumps.
The bad part is–convenience, and the worse is – the lost of lives due to road accidents because contractors do not even care to put reflectorized warning devices.
Motorists plying the route can stand with me and say, the feeling is mutual.
Motorists have long complained about it, but the powerful people, should I say powerful politicians sitting inside their beautiful, comfortable, air-conditioned and well manicured capitol
buildings didn’t care about travails of the motorists.
For sure, they passed by the still unfinished road during the campaign period, when the reached out for votes.
I’m sure, they promised people of a good farm to market road.
But I am also pretty sure, they have good memories of alibi’s, they sing sweet songs and danced their tunes to win the elections.
But years after years. the same problem beset the Davao-Digos road.
Like their constituents, passersby, await the completion of the long unfinished road.
If these conditions exist in Davao region, the so-called premier city of the south, the center of Mindanao and the home of the President, just imagine the situation all over the country.
Can we suggest that signage be changed from “SLOW DOWN MEN WORKING AHEAD ” to “SLOW MEN WORKING AHEAD”?
Alas! last Saturday dawn, no less than President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Public Work and Highways to give contractors of still unfinished projects 30 days to complete it or face cancellation of contracts or worse, follow suit.
Duterte hinted, corruption eats up many government projects.
I was once told, inside the different offices of the DPWH you meet staff of officials and employees carrying bulk of blue prints containing multi-million projects, but after office hours you can
find some of them talking to fellow workers, discussing the newly awarded contracts.
Worse, the contractors are the same people working inside the Highways department.
In many cases, politicians create dummy construction firms, using “friends with benefits” as dummies, use their own “job order” employees to undertake government projects.
Workers cannot complain, they are at the mercy of the government’s payroll for survival.
In all these situations, the leeches sitting inside their air-conditioned offices do not experience travel delays, it is the taxpayers.
It is the taxpayers money going to the vault of these leeches sucking taxpayers blood. Same people they promised good services during the elections.
Are they heartless, I say, no! because they are still alive.
But I should say, these corrupt contractors and politicians do not have the social responsibility to return the favors of the taxpayers who painstakingly labored to pay taxes.
The same taxpayers betrayed by these unscrupulous contractors and politicians.
The issue here is taxpayers money, our money versus transparency and accountability of our public officials.
As I write this piece, a question came to my mind.
Will my granddaughter Cathalea, experience my travails? Growing up and getting old in an unfinished road?
With the President’s order, can travel in a completed road after 30 days?
The answer is yours.