Over the Moon

- James Deakin -

So there we were on just another one of those lazy Sunday afternoons at my mom’s place chatting freely when the conversation swerved violently towards politics. My mom jumped on her virtual soapbox, and went to town about this whole C5 extension fiasco that Senator Villar is embroiled in and banged on it like an engine on its rev limiter.

Not that I’m a supporter or anything, but I rose to his defense and said, “If the worse thing he’s being accused of is building a road that benefited his properties, hey, that’s not bad! At least he built something we can all use and not a private army or an extravagant fortress!” Because sadly, the truth is, in this day and age we’ve become so jaded with our politicians that if that’s the extent of his crime, then we should have him canonized.

Then they opened the road.

Now I’m not going to talk about the political angle here, especially after Winnie Monod’s damning expose, but as a tax paying road user, I can tell you that if there’s one thing worse than a road going nowhere, its one that tries to pass through the moon on its way there. Without permission. Allow me to explain.

This brand new “road to nowhere”, as it has been dubbed, is supposed to hook up to C5, run along the airport perimeter wall and cut through some of the good senator’s land in Las Piñas, and eventually hook up to the coastal road. Many will argue that there are far more important roads that need to be built, especially considering that there was a Build Operate Transfer contract awarded to a private company who were tasked to build a road that literally overlaps with this government funded version, but let’s not go there. It’s been thrashed out before, and this is hardly the venue for that.

What concerns me is when the DPWH officially declared the road open and put signs as far as Las Piñas directing you to this wonderful new road that leads to the South Super Highway. They did the same around Magallanes, where they start encouraging you to take this more “convenient” route to Las Piñas, luring you in with signs which would require you to exit the highway at Nichols and go down the Service road to Merville.

All is good until you hit Moonwalk Village. All of a sudden, a billion peso road becomes as pointless as a Kamikaze pilot’s helmet when you realize that your fate is in the hands of a village security guard who will refuse you entry unless you have a resident’s sticker. Its like being given the airline ticket and denied the visa. So near, yet so far.

Now you have chaos at the guard houses as the vehicles get backed up because of unassuming irate motorists who detoured several kilometers out of their way only to be turned away at the gate and told to go back. I’ve seen some vicious arguments erupt, and its only a matter of time before it turns violent.

Moonwalk Village Association claims that they were not informed of this, and were just as shocked as everyone else to see DPWH signs all of a sudden just pop out of nowhere directing motorists to go through their private subdivision. They claim that there is a security breach if they let anyone just traverse their private road, although they have no problem granting passage so long as every motorist purchases a sticker, which is not just ridiculous, it has also got be unconstitutional surely.

As difficult as it may be for their egos, the DPWH should remove all the signs until the entire project is completed. Bragging about a half opened road is like trying to take credit for donating one shoe. And even if this road is paved with good intentions, it is entirely unfair to put the motorist at the center of all the politics while you pass the buck across the street. Or over the moon.

Here’s an interesting comment not on last week’s Backseat Driver column, but on the Michelle Yeoh road safety article written by Junep Ocampo last week…

Dapat sana mga pulis ay sumunod din sa batas. Pinakasimple ang pag-suot ng helmet, na hindi nila sinusunod. Pinaka-basic din ang pinagbabawal na counterflow – na lagi naman ginagawa ng mga pulis at mga government officials with escorts. Sana makatikim din kayo ng ginagawa niyo sa mga tao bilang araw. – bruks_pt

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