Cebu North Road: A reader's response

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

I have received two emailed letters in response to our article last Monday about our bike trip to Bantayan Island last Saturday, where we saw the road rehabilitation of northern Cebu by the Department of Public Works & Highways  costing some P386 million. I wrote that the road project along Tabuelan did not cost that much. So I got this email, but the writer requested me to delete his name…so I will just put his initials.

"Dear Sir: Thanks for recognizing the plight that we face every day.  The broken roads, the dust, the mud, and the inconvenience of traffic mired in the city of Bogo are a daily occurrence for us here.  If we thought that this would result in progress, it would be worth enduring a few months of these problems. The problem is, there was nothing wrong with the roads!!! No widening improvements, no repairs, no nothing. Just perfectly good roads being torn out and replaced by exactly the same quality of roads.

In fact, the road repair south of Bogo, between Bogo and Sogod, is a major embarrassment that whole length of road was replaced a mere two years ago. I would like someone to investigate this matter and find out who the construction company is and how it was determined that these repairs were necessary.  It would be a shame if these road projects were being carried out only because there are funds available at the national level.

I am an American citizen.  I am not naive enough to know that corruption is a part of all governments, but this road construction is the sound of people taking local money and leaving our town high and dry. Please advise us how you are doing with this writing project.  You might get some interesting feedback from locals here that would like to comment on the situation and get an explanation from local government officials, also. Sincerely TJ."

Here is the second email, which is quite lengthy so I had to edit it.

"Dear Mr. Avila, My name is Mark Fetbroth, a retired foreigner from Miami, and have been in the barangay of Lawis. I love reading the Freeman everyday and look forward to reading your commentaries and frankly have learned a lot about the good and bad regarding this country. Though I don't always agree with what you write I admire your courage to say what you think cause for the most part Filipinos are passive people who don't want to upset anybody especially the politicians.

I am responding to your article on September 1st starting with your long holiday weekend where you saw for yourself the so-called rehabilitation of the main highway road here in the north. Boy, did you hit a sore spot with me and other people who live up here. For the record let me state very clearly that most of this road rehabilitation was not needed at all as these roads were either perfect or just done last year or the year before.

Unbelievable is the only word to describe the audacity of the people who are authorizing this work. If anything just small repairs could have been done but not to the extent that they are doing disrupting local people's lives.  Driving south from Bogo to Cebu City on what were once perfectly paved roads there is a feeling of eeriness and despair as the locals sit surrounded by dust and just stare at the vehicles passing by, as there is nothing they can do.

From the crossroad where the road from Bogo City to San Remigio meet, all the way up to the new city hall of Bogo road rehabilitation is being done that was not needed. The road was in very good condition. Please, if you come back here and have the time check out what I have stated for yourself. Have a cold drink at the Tambayan outdoor restaurant across from the Gaisano in Bogo and talk to any foreigner or Filipino sitting there on a hot sunny afternoon and I'm sure you will come to the conclusion that money (the people's money) is not being well spent or is going in someone's pocket.

Before this work started in Bogo earlier this year I went to the mayor's office three times to complain about the local roads in Bogo being in very poor condition. I showed him pictures of one really bad road built by money that Congressman Ben Hur gave about three years ago. Mayor Martinez had me write a letter to the provincial engineer, which he said he would hand carry to Cebu City himself. Nothing happened of course. Most of the roads in Bogo (attached to the main highway) that lead to people's homes and points of interest such as Hagnaya Beach Resort in San Remigio and the Turtle Bay Resort in Tabogon are in desperate need of repair and in some in a lot of areas need to be asphalted. I think that even though those local & national roads are two separate entities someone in government should realize that redoing the same roads is a waste of time and money.

Maybe the governor himself should check things out if he has the time? Having said all this I thank you for all your efforts in trying to help your country. Please carry on the fight. Concerned people like you are not only needed here but all over the world. Sincerely Mark Ferbroth." Thank you Mark for this report. It validates my fears that not much was spent on these projects. 

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For email responses to this article, write to [email protected] or [email protected]. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.














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