WB asks Philippine gov’t to build more roads
Filed Under: World | Posted: 05/22/2008 at 4:47PM
Comments | Region: Philippines
Lack of roads and infrastructures are hampering progress in the Philippines. And this is what the politicians had wanted. Otherwise, the government should have given priority to enhancing infrastructure developments in the countryside so that people can move their goods to other markets in fast and convenient way.
But what happens is that the roads in the countryside remain unimproved. If they are cemented, the road is not in accordance with the public works specifications or the construction is substandard. As a result, the road project which was already inspected by the Commission on Audit and paid for by the local government doesn’t last longer than expected.
It is not surprising at all why these road projects in the rural areas are not given much attention by the government. Most politicians knew very wellthat a community that has an improved infrastructure facilities is hard to dictate comes election period. In most cases, the residents or voterswhose livelihood maybe better than those without better infrastructure facilities cannot be cowed or dictated upon by politicians. Besides, thepeople couldn’t care less. Unlike when a certain community is poor or lacking in progress, the politicians succeed in buying them for more votesduring elections.
As one politician in the province of Masbate said: "It is better for the people to be poor because we can always buy them during election period."
Look the province of Masbate, until now it is one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines because the provincial government doesn’t doanything to uplift the livelihood of the people by cementing the roads leading to the interior parts of the province.
But this problem can be corrected if the national leadership will resort to hands-on way of ordering its line departments to do the job. For one, theDepartment of Public Works and Highways or the military engineers can do the job if so ordered by the president. And who would resist such anorder coming from the higher ups? From what I saw during my sojourn in the province that the DPWH bulldozers are lying idle and useless at acertain motorpool. When I asked one of the local officials there, he said that it could be possible that the heavy equipment doesn’t have anybudget for fuel consumption.
In fact, the World Bank in the Philippines has encouraged the government to invest more on infrastructure developments similar to what Asianneighbors are doing.
Vera Songwe, an economist at the World Bank Philippines, was quoted by Newsbreak Magazine that the Philippines only invest 2.3 to 2.5percent of its GDP on infrastructures, while other countries invest an average of 5 percent on this. She asked the government to do more in orderto be at par with the rest of Asia.