Monday, December 9, 2013

Middle of the Road

Margaret Thatcher once said, “Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” Well, our people won’t figuratively stand in the middle of the road the moment roads and bridges in our beloved Occidental Mindoro would not be hellish anymore like what I have said in the my blog entry some years back called “Ruts and Roads”.

Well, as I have written, there were two programs on roads and bridges for the whole of mainland Occidental Mindoro then. In case you do not know, the first ambitious road program in the province started in 1981. It was a component of the Philippine Government's Rural Roads Improvement Program supported by a $62 million loan approved by the World Bank (WB) to Marcos government. That year, the construction of national road began connecting the 170.6 kilometer-road from San Jose to Mamburao. In the early 80’s, said project was marred by problems in many aspects like severe mismanagement, inadequate planning, corruption and over-bureaucratization. The road construction program was part of the Mindoro Integrated Rural Development Program or MIRDP. The project is not completed due to different reasons,- both natural and man-made, rolled into one. This I have learned from Volker Schult who extensively wrote about Mindoro Island in the mid 80s.

Next is the second grand project. In January 7, 1999, the Loan Agreement No PH-P188 was signed and paved the way for the Mindoro West Coast Road Improvement Project. The total loan amount was 9,621 Million Yen from the Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA) and the executing agency is the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The project was “completed” in December 2005. The infrastructure includes construction of Busuanga Bridge, the road junction to Rizal, some road pavements in Sablayan, San Jose and Mamburao sections,- among others, including the much feared Patrick Pass.

Then the chop-chop scandal came into the picture. But let us forget them, err.. that, and put our hopes in the light at the end of the tunnel. With this recent development on our roads and bridges, we are already at the middle of the proverbial road to progress.

But now, the Mindoro West Coast Road Improvement Project under Road Upgrading and Preservation Project (RUPP)- Upgrading and Improvement Component which is also under JICA in Loan Agreement No. PH-P247. The loan started in March 2011 and its expiry date is July 31, 2023. My source here is the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region IV, by the way. The program generally provides a well paved upgraded roads and bridges reliable and safe to all travelers and road users. It is would also reduce travel time and vehicle maintenance, etc. It is composed of 4 Contract Packages (CPs): The CP II (Rizal-Calintaan Section), CP III (Calintaan-Sablayan Section), CP IV (Sablayan-Sta. Cruz Section), CP-IV-A (Sablayan-Sta. Cruz Road Section).

I need not specify technically each program of work and or its major work items so be advised to ask the Provincial Government specifically the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) or the DPWH about it (Or I could send it to you via PM through my FB account if you request for it) due to lack of space.    

But I am sharing you the following project cost for the individual CPs: for CP II its Php 292 M; CP III its Php 1,269 M; CP IV its Php 439,947,573.28 M; for CP IV-A Php 285.5 M. Nobody asked me but I am a participant to Provincial Development Council Meeting last December 8, 2013 in San Jose representing our CSO. The meeting was attended by almost all of the province’s municipal mayors led by Gov. Mario Gene J. Mendiola himself and Cong. Josephine Ramirez-Sato.

If I may reiterate, more than ever, what we need now is committed citizens’ arm to monitor such projects. Concerned citizens must hit the road for this.

And not just figuratively stand in the middle of the road… 

(Photo :

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