Loakan Road repair, a case of public policy ineffectiveness

All policy systems have a bias (Nigro & Nigro, Modern Public Administration, 1989).  This means that if policy making is dominated by the wealthy or whatever group is influential, public policies will mostly reflect interests of those groups.

concrete example:  Last week, a 500-meter portion of Loakan Road, from the entrance to Camp John Hay to a few meters away from the Scout Barrio gate, was ripped up to be repaved, again.  And it wasn’t too long ago, three years when this national road, from the old Camp John Hay entrance to the Philippine Military Academy, was repaired and some portion cemented.  Purportedly, the major repair was the instigation of former President Fidel V. Ramos who, during a bumpy ride to PMA where he was a guest, complained about the state of the road.  In his return to Manila, he made sure the road will be repaired.  It was, and it’s still in good condition now.  So when a portion of the perfectly-paved road was opened up and during the typhoon season too, you could understand the furor raised by the local government unit of Scout Barrio and other users of the road.  This has reached city hall and the contractor whose engineers made an unofficial and unobtrusive inspection  of the work, discussing among themselves how traffic will be eased.  It can’t, with both lanes already ripped apart (contrary to local news‘ Loakan Road will remain open albeit on a one-way basis).  Soon, that portion of the road will be closed to traffic and users from Loakan (especially thousands of employees at EPZA and the school children too), Kias and PMA, and Itogon and Philex Mines will be rerouted to Camp 7 to get to town.  Residents of Scout Barrio will have to make a 360-degree travel, Scout Barrio-Loakan-Camp 7-town-Hillside-Scout Barrio, to get back home from town.  For commuters, this would mean two or three rides to and from their destination.  And construction is said to take 270 days!

What locals are ranting about is, whose priority was the paving of that road portion when there are roads in other parts of the city in need of repair?  Why was there no prior notice or consultation with Scout Barrio LGU and road users so that negotiations could be made?  Whose interests matter?  As this questionable road repair is happening when the country is being ripped apart with national government’s bungling of its supposedly anti-corruption agenda, you can’t blame locals if they start connecting the dots .  Looking at the project cost, seems concrete is gold today, 40,207,054.51 Pesos per 500 meters, or 80,000 Pesos per meter.  But this does not include the cost incurred in the last repair three years ago on that portion of the road which is now destroyed.  And every cent of it from taxpayers, as overheard from a local.

In the local news, a local official at the DPWH Baguio District Office is quoted to have said of the matter implementation of projects usually takes place from May to July as funds are usually released as the year ends.  We cannot avoid it.  Of such responses and where the rule or system is blatantly defective, there are only two conclusions for these, either the man is not a thinking man or that government has totally lost it.

Read the Baguio Midland Courier report here.


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