A love for concrete


Senator Franklin M. Drilon led his cohorts in Iloilo City politics in the ground breaking ceremonies for a P300-million widening project of the Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue (or better known as Diversion Road) from its existing six lanes to 12 lanes in ceremonies last Wednesday, Feb. 26.

It is supposed to be a reiteration of Drilon’s commitment to pour more infrastructure projects into Iloilo City and kick its development into high gear. There is no hiding the obvious objective of persuading Iloilo City voters to keep Drilon’s pet politicians — Jerry Trenas, Jed Patrick Mabilog and Joe Espinosa III — in office through the May 13 elections.

Drilon wants to impress the people with the gargantuan sums of money involved. But do these projects really pack a wallop in terms of development? Will a 12-lane highway (a 2.5-kilometer stretch) boost the city’s progress?

Let’s look at the project objectively. With its six lanes, the Diversion Road can easily handle its present traffic load. There are not that many cars and trucks passing through it to warrant additional lanes. The only time there is congestion is when SM City Mall holds a “sale”, and the left-turn and U-turn slots in the middle island chokes the flow of vehicles. Other than that, the volume of vehicles going through it isn’t enough to require more lanes.

There is no engineering logic to it as well. At the end of the highway is a four-lane bridge linking Mandurriao with Molo, or better known as the Infante Bridge. It’s not hard to see that six lanes from the north will clog upon reaching the bridge which provides for just two lanes on each side. It’s a classic “bottleneck” effect that is apparently lost upon the people who conceived this project.

Does Iloilo City need this project? Apparently, no.

Drilon is only undertaking the project for posturing purposes (read: politics), unmindful of the waste of public funds. And since this involves concrete, we can readily see where much of the money will go. This love of concrete translates to a love of kickbacks.

 

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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