Table Talk: Corruption and disaster are sisters PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 November 2011 13:34

BY Mike S Apostol

When there is corruption in constructing infrastructure, the project is sub-standard and the next to come is disaster. Corruption in any venture what comes afterwards is disaster. World news this morning reveals that a 700 meters bridge linking two islands in East Kalimantan Indonesia collapsed killing scores of motorists and passengers and destroying many vehicles. Indonesian authorities are still looking into the cause. If news items are to be believed that corruption in Indonesia is as rampant as in the Philippines, there is a possibility that the bridge is sub-standard when it was constructed.
* * * *

In the Philippines most of the disasters in our highways are caused by sub-standard projects and the caused is obvious. Even in the agriculture sector. Disaster during harvest is caused by corruption in the distribution of subsidized fertilizers and the construction of irrigation canals that overflow during rainy season causing mini floods in the ricefields and rice paddies destroying the young “palay” plants and whose impounding dam cannot sustain the distribution of water during dry season also causing young “palay” to die.
* * * *

National highways, city roads and barangay all weather roads are destroyed in a short span of time. Had contractors followed the specification of the road design and plan, and stick to their allowable legal profit of 10%, highways and other infrastructure could have been used by the public longer. Unlike today, we see concreted highways built less than 10  years ago and have not even reached 25 years or more (normal lifespan of a class A highway), it is already covered with an asphalt overlay.
* * * *

Newly constructed school buildings and waiting sheds in the provinces are dilapidated in a short period of time because material specifications are not followed to the hilt. Instead of hard wood for its beams and posts, illegally cut coconut lumber is used and many times the galvanized sheet of the school’s roofing is so thin that sharp objects penetrate them easily causing small holes for rainwater to leak because it has no plywood ceiling.
* * * *

In Zamboanga City many of our covered canals both city and national highways are noticed to have collapsed and a gaping hole is posing danger to pedestrians. Looking closer at those destroyed canals, the concrete covering is so thin and the re-bars (cabilla) are so small slightly bigger that the biggest tie-wire. Again we believed that the plan specification for the construction of the covered canal is not followed.
* * * * 

In some parts of the city, the slightest rain triggers street floods causing so much inconvenience and sometimes costly disaster to the city and its residents. The root cause of this disaster is that many parts and areas of the street canals are clogged and do not have a spillway because natural canals acting as spillway are covered and blocked by private and government buildings constructed in the city.  In Pilar Street leading to Fort Pilar passing the PNP building at Veterans Avenue,  a canal is covered in that area causing street floods in the area. At the airport, Barangay San Roque side, the brook that passes at the end of the airport is made narrower when the airport runway was constructed causing street flood to the whole of San Roque Cemetery and sometimes it spills over to Gavilan Pt., Suterville subdivision where another natural canal for a spillway going to the sea is also blocked and covered when Interco Oil Mill was constructed.
* * * *

Indeed corruption and disaster are sisters. It is a cause and effect principle, just like a liar and a thief are brothers, my mother used to say. Because thieves never tell the truth otherwise they will be caught.
* * * *

Scoop: We believe that there are many government projects in the city that are sub-standard, so we prepare for disaster in the coming days. We hope our disaster response and action center are not plagued by corruption. Her budget and contributions are intact so we will not cry for help when the time comes.