The past week or so I have been traveling a lot in and around the Lianga area and once again,
like so many of the local residents here, as well as the occasional visitor who unfortunately had the unique experience of coming to this part of the country, I had the urge to tear at my hair and scream with frustration at the miserable state of the local roads. I am particularly referring here to the portion of the national highway servicing most of the first district of the province of Surigao del Sur to which Lianga has the misfortune to belong.
At first it was all potholes and rocky bumps all throughout the area's unpaved gravel roads. Then weeks and weeks of unremitting sunshine and no rain plus the government's feeble attempts to dump inadequate amounts of gravel on some of the critically damaged road sections only led to the turning of the gravel into a layer of fine dust that can make traveling on them like a journey into the depths of the Sahara dessert in the midst of a raging dust storm.
Passengers on public and private vehicles with open windows and no air conditioning going through these roads have to cover themselves up like Bedouins or ninja warriors or face the prospect of choking on the fine dust and arriving at their destinations looking like victims of a talcum dust explosion. Either way it is certainly not a fun experience.
Inevitably the ire of the local residents get logically and properly focused on the local government and their elected offcials who, in the past, may have been dragging their feet with regards to the task of modernizing the province's road network. They cannot understand why the road networks in most if not all of the surrounding provinces have already been concreted and even expanded and beautified while they, on the other hand, have to contend on a daily bais with rough, primitive and absolutely disgusting dirt roads.
Governor Pimentel, Congressman Pichay and the rest of the province's local officials have their work cut out for them and the people of their constituency are up to their necks in frustration at the decades worth of false promises coming from politicans like them to improve and upgrade the area's road system. Enough of the campaign promises and sweet talk. Just get it done!
I have been reliably told by officials from the district office of the Department Public Works and Highways in the provincial capital of Tandag that by 2010 the concreting of most of the provincial highway system which has already been programmed will be completed. It is said that work on many of the problematic road sections is scheduled to start any time soon.
I told them that I am very glad to hear the good news but I am not particularly eager to celebrate the news and jump with joy at the prospect of a fully modernized road system servicing the Lianga area and the entire province. You see, I have heard the same promises before so may times. And just like the so many of my fellow province mates who have become wary of such announcements, I prefer to wait and see what happens.
This time really I need to see before I will believe.