Wednesday, 16 July 2014

EDITORIAL: Larap road project resumes

THE good news is that the concreting of the remaining two kilometers of the rough road to Larap has resumed.

Reports reaching MWBuzz said the pouring of concrete will soon begin in sections where the road foundation has been completed at Sparline.

Alongside the cementing of the road, which is actually the much-needed rehab work, is the building of the so-called rip-rap, otherwise known as stone wall.

This job will strengthen that side of the road facing the bay to prevent if from eroding especially when angry waves would slam against the roadsides during stormy days.

It could be recalled that the stone-walling of the coastal road was done in that segment of the road that began in Parang after passing the Adea property. Such stone walls have kept the road intact during days when the sea was violent.

The Larap road was the result of earlier hard work by Mambulao Mayor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla in his effort to concretize baranggay roads across the municipality, which began as soon as he became mayor for the first time in 2010.

He wants to complete the cementing of the 88km of roads in Mambulao by 2019.

The cost of this project from the heart of Sparline to the center of Larap is Php20 million, and the money came from the Department of Tourism’s funding for municipal tourism program across the country.

Padilla obtained this money from DOT a year ago as part of the local government’s effort to boost its own tourism program, which also targets the resurrection of the defunct Larap domestic airport.

The catch in this road project, however, is that it is not the local government that is doing this, but the provincial government under Gov Edgar Tallado.

How is this so?

There has been a policy long in place where the municipal government could only handle public works worth up to Php5 million, especially when the funds came from the National Government through the General Appropriation Act.

Public works of more than Php5 million funded by the National Government become the job of the provincial government. 

This also means that the Php20 million allocated for this project by DOT goes to the coffers of the provincial government, that has the sole control as to how it should be disbursed.

It goes to say that this becomes the project of the provincial governor, who has all control on this project – from dealing with the provincial Department of Public Works (PDPW) people, to the private contractors who would do the job.

This time, the Mambulao government is only a spectator, just like the rest of the people, and has no role whatsoever in the road’s physical transformation.

It is under these circumstances that the people of Mambulao should be wary and vigilant as to how this project would go, which is one of the most vital public works ever seen in the community in a long time.

We should remember that when the provincial government rehabilitated the rough road that made its way across baranggay San Rafael from the concrete provincial road in Santa Rosa Sur, something happened along the way.

In just only a short while after it was opened to traffic and after a few heavy downpours, the asphalt that was used to pave this road began crumbling, showing the rocks beneath it. And the culverts that served as roadside canals fell off and were washed away after a few more heavy rains.

The locals immediately raised arms to protest the sloppy job that the provincial government did, alleging half of the money for the road actually went to some pockets.

When Padilla concreted the roads across Mambulao, he only spent Php5 million per kilometer, which is half of the standard cost of road cementing project when handled by the provincial government.

Most of the money in this road projects, in amounts less than Php5 million, came from the porks of certain lawmakers who are now in hot water over alleged misuse of such money entrusted to them.

The DOT had funded this Larap road segment at Php20 million – Php10 million for each of the two kilometers remaining of the seven-kilometer Parang-to-Larap road.

The people of Mambulao could only hope that Php10 million would actually go into the building of a kilometer of this road – and not just Php5 million, and that the available Php20 million would be fully used to complete the remaining 2km before the year ends, and not just half of it.

- Alfredo P Hernandez

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