By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Prior to the three typhoons, a friend came up with an article on graft and corruption that characterizes infrastructure projects along the Mt. Data – Bontoc road. His story described in detail the nature of the corruption related on the projects in that area.
After the three typhoons that hit this city, various asphalted road projects in the city turned out to be below standard projects. The asphalt applied on the roads along Kisad, Magsaysay and near the BGH rotunda were washed out. Even the road wight in front of City Hall was similarly destroyed, with the sand and gravel left on some portions creating a dirt road image. The roads were now transformed into various “sungkaan” (holes). It caused inconvenience to motorists and are observed to have contributed to the traffic problems at present. These asphalted roads were just two weeks when they were hit by the past three typhoons.
Adding these issues on graft and corruption and sub-standard projects with the eye sore “flyover” project at the BGH, I kept on pointing out that these are but a part of a vicious cycle of problems on the government’s public work system. Who would forget the SOPs (or that standard operating procedures) that are embedded under the government public work system? To think that the funds of these projects are exacted from the people in the form of taxes, or funded through government loans that would be imposed to the public in the form of taxes, again. Now I am fast realizing if it is worthwhile for me to pay my taxes when I see with my own eyes these graft-riddled and sub-standard projects.
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Prior to the three typhoons, the Cordillera region and the country had been encountering water supply shortage – whether for domestic, agricultural needs or otherwise. To address the problem, the government had segregated funds for cloud-seeding to induce rain for the said water needs. It seems the government is more favorable to rain water understandably as an urgent measure for the problem on water shortage. But this move is just a temporary remedy to our water shortage problem. The problem must be addressed by adopting strategic programs.
One of these strategic programs is the reforestation particularly in the Cordillera which continues to be the watershed cradle for many water bodies in the lowlands. But the government seems not buying the idea to reforest the region to ensure strategic supply of water. National Irrigation Administration (NIA) officials have raised this issue to the national level but to no avail.
Aside from the reforestation, the government must also stop projects that led to the destructions of our mountain and forests. Mining and loggings had been pinpointed to be the cause of these deforestation. In fact, forest and mountains destroyed due to logging had not been restored to their appropriate state.
Mountains leveled due to mining had not been restored, much less rehabilitated. But it seems that maintaining or restoring the region to its forested status might just be a dream. The present administration had already been mouthing in its international campaign that the country would be a mining destination. That is the reason why almost 70 percent of the region’s 1.8 million-hectare land area is covered by mining applications. Now the people are left to make that decision: whether or not to allow mining which would mean the destruction of their homeland. Will the people allow this to happen? #