By Alex P. Vidal
“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying.”— Francis Bacon
LET’S make this clear: the Dinagyang Festival has nothing to do with the construction of the Iloilo flyover in Ungka, Pavia.
Dinagyang Festival is a cultural and religious event in honor of Senor Sto. Nino. The Iloilo flyover is a public works project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) built to help solve the monstrous traffic snarl in that highway.
It was not constructed to the tune of P680 million purposely for the Dinagyang Festival. Even without the flyover project, Dinagyang Festival is scheduled to be held annually in the third week of January.
With or without the Dinagyang Festival, construction of the flyover was necessary because of the growing traffic congestion in the roads or highways that connect Iloilo City to the Municipality of Pavia.
The timeline set by DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan for the structurally “defective” flyover to be reopened for public use was “before Dinagyang 2024.”
“Maligayang pagdiriwang ng ating Dinagyang. Unfortunately, hindi nakaabot itong Ungka Flyover pero sisiguraduhin namin na sa susunod na Dinagyang magagamit po ito,” Bonoan was quoted as saying in a Daily Guardian report during his visit in Iloilo City on Friday the 13th.
We have a question for you, Secretary Boanan: Can the “sinking” Iloilo flyover be opened to the motorists before the Paraw Regatta 2023 in March; before the Victory Day in Panay and Romblon 2023 in March; before the Iloilo City Charter Anniversary 2023 in August; before the All Soul’s Day 2023 in November; or before Christmas Day 2023 in December?
If we ask the Ilonggos, most of them actually aren’t interested which event and date set by the DPWH should be considered as the timeline for the flyover’s reopening.
They don’t care if it’s a Valentine’s Day or a Halloween. All they want is to travel safely and smoothly and they won’t be late in their appointments and transactions when they pass by in the highway where the ill-fated flyover is now standing.
And, it may interest and give satisfaction to all and sundry if those responsible for bungling the multi-million project are held accountable and be prosecuted before the court of all, if needed.
I received an email from New York Governor Kathy Hochul, which she also sent to our fellow New Yorkers:
Alex—I hope you’re having a fantastic start to the New Year. As we embark on 2023, I was proud to outline a path forward for our state in my State of the State address this week. I’m proud to say that the State of our State today is strong — but we still have work to do.
Since I took office, we’ve made historic investments to strengthen and upgrade our infrastructure, build a world-class public transit system, create a strong public education system, confront climate change, fortify our health care system, help our small businesses, and create jobs across the state.
It is on this foundation that we will make New York more affordable, more livable, and safer.
In my State of the State Address, I outlined 147 key policies so that we can make the New York Dream a reality for individuals and families across the state now and for generations to come.
I can’t wait to share more updates about the work we’re doing to support communities across our state. Visit governor.ny.gov to learn more, and if you aren’t already, follow along with our work on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Ever Upward, Gov. Kathy Hochul
I STARTED searching for my “American Dream” in California some 15 years go, thus the state of 40 million residents holds a special place in my heart until today.
Our hearts go out to our friends and relatives in Northern California affected by the recent series of atmospheric river storms which continued January 14 (Saturday), reportedly leading to a levee breach along the San Joaquin River in Merced County, impassable roads in the Sierra Nevada and an evacuation warning southeast of Elk Grove.
The Sacramento Bee has reported that California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited flooded areas and an evacuation center in Merced; a search on the Central Coast for a missing 5-year-old caught up in floodwaters from an earlier storm was suspended again by the latest rough weather; and requests for help with downed trees and other damage continued to pile up with county agencies.
Sacramento County’s evacuation warning near Elk Grove, ahead of expected flooding, applied to Wilton, Rancho Murieta, Herald, Dillard Road and surrounding areas, it was reported.
The areas are reportedly near the Cosumnes River, which had severe levee breaks earlier this month, closing Highway 99, trapping dozens in their cars and killing two. County officials urged Wilton-area residents to evacuate Saturday afternoon, including livestock.
It was reported further that the Cosumnes River levee is not the only vulnerable levee in the Central Valley. One along the San Joaquin River in Merced County broke Saturday morning, trapping eight horses and a dog. They reportedly required a water rescue.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)