Friday, June 26, 2009

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood... One Cemented, the Other Not...

I drove to Brgy. Visaya in the mountainous area of Vintar the other day to deliver some cement. The road leading up to the barangay is not cemented. Neither is it asphalted. It is a dirt road with some sand and gravel spread out so that tires could hold on to something. I recon it would be difficult to drive during rainy weather as the dirt would turn into mud.

The situation has been like this for the longest time. I often ask myself why it hasn't been asphalted or cemented yet.

On the other hand, a few days before I went to Vintar, I drove through Piddig. On the way to the wake of my friend Eddie Gregorio, I encountered some road construction. What puzzled me was that just last month the same road seemed perfectly normal to me. It was cemented--flat and solid. In some parts, the construction workers were putting soil, as if to raise the height of the road. In other parts, they were destroying the cemented road. Still, in another portion of the road, they were pouring asphalt over the existing cemented road!

Why ruin a perfectly fine road to make another one?

Then I realized the difference between the road in Vintar and the road in Piddig.

The road in Vintar is a Municipal Road. Hence, the burden to develop and cement it is on the local government. And since the municipal government of Vintar doesn't have enough funds to maintain its roads, they remain to be the way they are--dirt roads.

On the other hand, the road passing through Piddig is a National Road, and hence under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works and Highways. Apparently, the national government has cemented all of the national roads here in the first district and they have so much money because of GMA's stimulus package, that they have no alternative but to destroy perfectly fine cemented roads to build new ones.

Can you believe that? Such a waste of taxpayers money!

And even if we get to convince the District Engineer to cement the municipal road, under the law the DPWH cannot. It would be illegal.

Because by virtue of the Local Government Code of 1991, the maintenance of municipal, city and provincial roads have been devolved to the LGUs.

But the problem is not all LGUs can maintain their road networks. Hirap sila. Either maliit ang IRA-share nila, or they have so many concerns more pressing than road concreting (i.e. health, education, etc.).

And so we are where we are. The municipal road in Vintar remains to be a dirt road because the town cannot afford to cement it, while the national road crossing Piddig is being "upgraded" once again because, well, they ran out of national roads to construct.

What a dysfunctional system we have.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why go by bike

Read this 30-page on-line book and learn why riding a bike can help the environment and your health!