The (in)famous dunking in Rio Hondo PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 May 2018 12:06

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

Most people who learned about  the news of the collapse of the walkway in Rio Hondo had a good laugh. Perhaps the laugh was at the expense of the well-known personalities who got dunked in the foul waters of the place but no malice was meant in the laughter. One has got to admit that it was a rather funny situation. But when one considered the incident further it became a disturbing incident, not a funny one.

Suppose someone in the party had been seriously hurt,  would it have been funny then?  Most certainly not.

And then there is the consideration of what it cost to build that bridge and whether it should have collapsed when it did. Structures have a  lifespan under the specs they were built and under the conditions they are used.  Should the bridge have collapsed when it did? Because it did under conditions normal for its use, should the collapse have taken place when it did? These  questions raise speculations about how wisely government funds were used in the construction  of  the walkway/bridge. In short, was this another example of corruption in the use of government funds? Was this another example of incompetence in the office which had responsibility for monitoring the project at the time the walkway was built?

I remember a time many years back when in a Mindanao province a bridge collapsed on the very day it was supposed to be opened for use and a gathering of government officials and guests were there for the ceremony. No kidding!

If the tax-paying citizens of this country ask where their tax money goes, events like the collapse of the Rio Hondo walkway should prod them to a more critical evaluation of government projects. And we should be critical considering that ours is a poor country and resources should be used for optimal return. Sadly, quite the opposite is what is happening.

We are going through the campaign period for the most local of local elections – the election for barangay officials. Barangay officials are people we know; they are our neighbors or even relatives for some. But this very fact may be counterproductive if our friendship or relationship with the candidates is the reason for giving them our votes,  disregarding their work ethic, their competence or their integrity. Electing into official positions people without the necessary work ethic or competence or integrity is the reason why so much public funds are lost.

The engineer who supervised or monitored the construction of the collapsed walkway in Rio Hondo is not an elected official but he/she is surely accountable to one who is elected. And the elected official is accountable to the people. It is essential that we remember this.