By Alex P. Vidal
“The road to success is always under construction.”—Arnold Palmer
LET’S hope there’s no truth to reports the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was planning to open the scandal-ridden and defective P680-million Ungka flyover in Pavia, Iloilo to light vehicles even if it is still under repair and observation.
We still trust the expertise and wisdom of technical people—the experts and engineers—when it comes to hammering out the correct and wise decision.
Our only concern is, opening the unfinished flyover to light vehicles can be like allowing a newly circumcised male adult to, no pun intended, participate in a horse racing, or forcing a prostitute just released from hospital after a Caesarean operation, to report back to the whorehouse.
Since it involves the public works and elevated infrastructure, the danger and risk are always clear and present.
Before any untoward incident like a collision of vehicles when certain portions of the flyover accidentally abrade or scrape away, it’s best if they will allow the flyover’s total rehabilitation to conclude first according to timetable before opening it to traffic.
We can’t experiment with safety or human life.
It’s better to err on the side of caution.
Or, as the saying goes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Opening it to light vehicles might follow after the dynamic “load testing” was done last month to determine if the flyover’s piers or foundations are still sinking.
The final decision would be known reportedly during the press conference at the DPWH regional office on September 19.
It may be recalled that the Pier 5 sank at a depth of 22.9 inches, Pier 6 at 19.21 inches, and Pier 4 impaired by 16 inches.
Now that a budget of P200 million has been reportedly set aside to fix the sinking foundations, it may be best if they let the entire rehabilitation works be completed first before any vehicle can be allowed to cross the flyover for safety purposes.
Again, we leave the matter to the experts, the engineers, who are more knowledgeable, responsible, and accountable. (In a September 19, press conference, DPWH-6 regional office said the flyover can be reopened to light vehicles if concerned local government units approve. Regional Director Sanny Boy Oropel and other DPWH-6 officials said static and dynamic load tests in the past weeks indicated that the flyover has stopped sinking. – Ed)
There are two major issues that will forever inconvenience and torment the Filipinos: China’s non-stop incursion and harassment of our ships in the West Philippine Sea and the mind-boggling oil price increase.
If we think China will stop tailing or blocking the Philippine Navy ships in the disputed waters after a series of diplomatic protests and complaints before the international tribunal, we are wrong.
If we think prices of fuel products, which will rise for the 11th consecutive this week as Russia and Saudi Arabia extended voluntary production cuts, will end, we are also wrong.
Both our woes with China and oil price hike are parts of geopolitics.
It is because of China’s sweeping claims of sovereignty over the sea—and the sea’s estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—that have antagonized competing claimants Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Countries began to claim islands and various zones in the South China Sea, such as the Spratly Islands, which possess rich natural resources and fishing areas, as early as the 1970s when Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was the president.
And in accordance with its Statute, the mission of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.
On September 18, Pilipinas Shell and Caltex announced increases of P2.50 per liter for diesel and P2 per liter for gasoline and kerosene.
Other companies are expected to announce the same price hikes.
The adjustments took effect on September 19.
Pump prices have not slowed down since July, bringing total increases for diesel to P16.90 per liter, gasoline to P11.60, and kerosene to P15.74.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)