Does Duterte have time for this?

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

For a while, I really thought that the idea of putting up a billboard announcing a government project at the very site of the undertaking was a stroke of genius. This was not new though. It was just an institutionalization of an earlier political propaganda scheme. Historically speaking, when our president was still Ferdinand E. Marcos, he had inscribed on such billboards the declaration that "this is where your taxes are being spent." He started this propaganda gimmick at the early part of his first term as our president 1965-1969. At the bottom part of each billboard was the name of the president. Such billboards were placed at the most conspicuous places of the project sites because they were supposed to tell us that government returned to us a part of the taxes we paid by way of such and such projects. Indeed, the idea was brilliant. 

Subsequent administrations began to build on the foundation Marcos established. The billboards did not just anymore say that our taxes were being spent on whatever project was afoot. For the information of taxpayers, details were added like the project cost, the date of the start of the project and the estimated target of completion. Even the name of the entity who won the bidding for such project was supposed to be written for the citizens to help monitor the progress.

There is such a billboard along M. J. Cuenco Avenue. It can be seen near the corner of the road leading to inner part of Barangay Hipodromo. If you came from downtown Cebu City, you would find it on the left side of the road just few meters after the corner. If on the other hand, you were driving towards downtown Cebu City from anywhere near the Mabolo catholic church, this billboard is on the right side.

Why no name of the contractor was ever written on this advertisement must, on my second thought, have been either intentional or malicious or both. Without our knowing the supposed date of the commencement of this project and yes, without our being informed of the contractor to whom this project was awarded, we could not raise a howl on its being unfinished. Let me tell you that the glaring absence of the date of the start of the project as well as its estimated completion worked on my imaginative mind. And my mischievous thought had conjured so much corruption imbedded on this project.

While my memory fails to recall when specifically this advertisement was erected, I could safely say that the Department of Public Works and Highways put this one up more than three years ago. I should know because I travel this way every day. By simple deduction, if we went by the purpose and intent of such a billboard being to be put up at the beginning of the project for our basic information thereof, then it had been more than three years when the widening of the Mabolo portion of the road was commenced. Sa Binisaya pa, dugay na kayo nga wa jud mahuman ning proyektoha.

The fact is that I wrote more than three times in the past on this project. At first, I simply complained that the work was rather slow. To drive my point, I mentioned then that there were very few people, if at all, seen working on the project. Since I did not see any positive development out of my column, I said in my next article that concerned authorities failed to notice what I wrote in this column. I was harsher in the third write up. I even invited the Office of the Ombudsman to see what was going on and find out why it took eternity for the contractor to finish the project. I do not remember now if I declared in my third article that there was gross negligence of the part of the DPWH to supervise this infrastructure project.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, should know this. of course, our president is too busy with drug lords and pushers. But he mentioned somewhere that he is also angry and his anger is directed against the corrupt. Here is a hope that the president's men in our midst can whisper to him this concern."

Palihug Mr. President, ipa tan-aw sa imong mga sinaligan kining proyektoha. Kon ugaling dakong kadautang nahimo sa mga drug lords ug drug pushers ngadto sa katawhan, dili usab gamay ang kadaut nga nabuhat niining mga tawo nga nag usik-usik sa kwarta sa kagamhanan. Ipadala ngari tong imo mamumusilay!

[email protected].

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