A problem that will hinder our city’s progress and development PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 May 2018 11:34

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build Program is now in full swing. Many cities and municipalities are now undertaking massive infra projects intended for their progress and development.

The main source of funding these projects will come from the income that will be derived from the implementation of the TRAIN Law. It’s not surprising that many anti-Duterte opposition groups are moving heaven and hell to derail its implementation, calling it anti-poor and an additional burden to the millions of Filipinos living below the poverty line. Compared to its effects on the increasing prices of basic commodities, the law is exempting millions of private and government employees earning below P250,000  annually from paying their income taxes, which is huge and a big help to workers when compared to the amount of increases in basic commodities which are only in centavos. But the problem is: we Filipinos are always complaining to the point that we want basic goods to be given us free or sold to us very cheap. We listen to those opposition personalities, who in the first place, are wealthy and do not experience hardships when prices of goods are raised. By leading the people to demonstrate and accuse the present government, they earn dollars from outside sources, especially from socialist organizations in Europe, while the demonstrators are merely paid a pittance and given packed foods.

Anyway, talking about infra projects, Engr. Bong Nuño, of Stonerich Construction, a Manila-based construction company, revealed to me last week of a very disturbing information that will discourage many investors and place many programmed government projects on hold due to the non-availability in the city of a basic construction material—sand. He said many investors who intend to put up offices and buildings in the city are now reconsidering their decision in proceeding with their projects or transferring to another place to construct them. Engr. Nuño said that the price of sand in the city has skyrocketed. While before, he’s buying this at only P600 per cubic meter, now it’s almost a thousand. But the worse thing is: one cannot anymore buy this in the city. In his case, he’s buying this in Cotabato City and bring this to the city by barge which is difficult, very expensive and time-consuming. Consequently, the value of many infra projects cornered by contractors become smaller as they have to shell out millions of additional expenses because of this scarcity. In Manila, Engr. Nuño revealed that he’s buying sand at only P450 per cubic meter.

He says in Zamboanga City, one can still buy sand but the quality is low-grade or inferior. These is sand taken from the sea and by washing and using it in the construction of buildings and roads will only crack the structures in a short time. It does not really hold the cement when mixed to it. It is sub-standard. No wonder many projects, especially roads, are now cracked even before they are turned-over to the government or to businessmen/investors. He says that this is the reason why the construction of many buildings and roads in the city are placed on hold.

We’ve heard about Congressman Celso Lobregat’s project of constructing a fly-over at the MCLL Highway and at the junction of San Roque and San Jose Road. With their modest bidding prices and their warranty, I don’t know if any contractor will be bold enough to bid and take on these projects. Definitely the amount of these projects will become bigger because of its main component—sand—will have to be bought in other places and brought to the city.

This problem can be remedied or solved if Mayor Beng Salazar and the City Council will reconsider their decision that totally banned sand quarrying in the west coast. Yes, it is destroying the environment and widening the rivers. But something has to be done to minimize or avoid this by coming out with prudent and sensible measures if only to avert the looming crisis of the non-availability of sand. Leaving this problem will certainly affect the construction of many government infra projects and those of investors who intend to establish business in the city.

Progress and development? Search me, I don’t know.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 May 2018 11:34