Only 50% of potholes filled a month after ‘Lubak2normal’ tweet campaign
Metro, provincial roads still have potholes left by floodsBy Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—It’s not yet “back to normal” in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces when it comes to roads, weeks after heavy rains and floods, despite “tweets” alerting the government on where to do the repairs.
Despite the “#Lubak2normal” Twitter campaign of Palace over potholes caused by monsoon rains a month ago, only half of these roads have been repaired by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The social media campaign of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) and the DPWH, which began on August 10, has received a total of 3,459 tweets.
The drive seeks the assistance of Twitter subscribers to report the location of potholes, so that the DPWH could find and repair them.
The situation on roads under the jurisdiction of provincial governments is not pretty either, since only 37 percent of these tweet reports have been “addressed.”
Briefing reporters on Tuesday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the campaign received many reports for city and municipal roads in need of fixing.
“As of the latest report from DPWH, 50 percent of these roads have already been repaired,” she said.
As of August 30, the social media campaign has elicited a total of 241 reports on specific national road locations within Metro Manila that were “in need of repair,” said Valte.
“Of these, 125, or 51.87 percent, of reported locations have already been fixed by the DPWH as of Thursday last week. We are awaiting further reports from the DPWH on the status of the remaining reports,” she added.
Valte disclosed that although the campaign covered only national roads in Metro Manila that had been badly damaged by flooding spawned by monsoon rains in early August, infrastructure under the jurisdiction of local governments within the National Capital Region were also affected.
Although the speed with which the DPWH has been undertaking road repairs left much to be desired, Valte appeared upbeat, saying: “The #Lubak2normal campaign has resulted in a convergence between citizen’s engagement through reports and the assessment of road repair initiatives by government. More than just a campaign, it has evolved into a partnership among agencies. More importantly, it has demonstrated a shared commitment between the government and the public to ensure better roads and to strengthen the mechanisms of public accountability.”
The DPWH earlier provided an explanation for the potholes that disfigured almost all roads in the metropolis in the wake of the torrential rains and floods brought by monsoon rains.
The official line of the agency tasked to repair and maintain the national road artery is that asphalt and water simply don’t mix, with DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson saying that the “enemy of asphalt is water.”
“So if there is no efficient drainage—again, we go back to the flooding (problem)—that aggravates the quality of our roads. So when the roads are submerged in floodwaters, the asphalt (overlay) doesn’t last,” said Singson.
The DPWH has identified some “27,000 cubic meters of potholes,” possibly referring to the amount of asphalt needed to cover the potholes, which are causing traffic gridlock and endangering motorists and pedestrians alike.
Despite doubts about the durability of asphalt used to overlay major roads, Malacañang has nixed an investigation into supposedly substandard asphalt materials being used by the DPWH for its periodic road maintenance work. Over the years, this has been a source of kickbacks for enterprising contractors because of the difficulty in auditing the quantity and quality of asphalt usage by the agency.
The Palace was also mum on the liabilities of the private utilities and government agencies that have kept on digging up roads without returning them to the original state after the work.
For 2012, the DPWH has a budget of P82.1 billion out of P104.9 billion for road construction and maintenance. The rest goes to flood control and “other projects.”