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.


Ready to crumble

Ready to crumble

Editorial cartoon of Raul Abellar in Iloilo City’s “The Daily Guardian” captures the grave danger that lawyers, judges, litigants and court personnel face with the “retrofitting” that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), sponsored by Senator Franklin M. Drilon, wants to undertake on the structurally shaky building.
The “retrofitting” scheme has met with strong objections from the stake holders. Engr. Nilo Jardeleza, a noted structural engineer, said the Hall of Justice could become another Hyatt Baguio which collapsed like a house of cards after the magnitude 7.7 earthquake that hit the mountain city in 1990.
Atty. Hans Sayno, spokesman of the Reconstruct the Hall of Justice Movement, noted that a powerful politician seems hell-bent in hiding the anomalies in the construction of the building.
It is public knowledge in Iloilo City the building was erected during the incumbency of Drilon as DOJ Secretary in 1991.