Some readers of this blog have been sending queries through their comments to various blog posts and also via e-mail. I thought it might be only a good time to try to address and answer at least some of their questions.
A. V. asks, "Since you posted a while back the dire state of Lianga's roads, has there been any improvement made under Cong. Philip's one-year in the office?
Obviously, A. V. here is referring to Rep. Philip Pichay who replaced his brother, former congressman and defeated senatorial candidate Prospero "Butch' Pichay as the congressional representative for the first district of Surigao del Sur. Lianga, with its famous (or infamous) dirt roads is part of the congressman's domain, the same roads incidentally which Pichay critics superciliously cite as one of the campaign side issues that help derail the lavishly funded Pichay campaign to wrest a seat in the Philippine Senate in the 2007 national elections.
In fairness, the first year of Philip Pichay's term has seen the first concrete proof (pardon the pun!) of a serious government effort to modernize the highway and road system in the Lianga area. As we speak, the road sections along the Lianga-San Agustin area are being paved with concrete as part of the overall Surigao-Davao coastal road improvement program. And if rumors are to be believed, the concreting of the Lianga-Barobo road section will soon follow as promised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her recent visit to this province.
As to how much of the massive, on-going road improvement project is due to the efforts of the Pichay brothers or the direct intercession to Malacañang made by various local government officials and religious and business leaders is still the subject of animated discussion and spirited contention here. What is undeniable is the fact that the expected completion of the road concreting program in 2010 or 2011 is expected to boost the economic development of the entire province and will go a long way in dispelling the prevailing notion among local folks that this province does not exist as far as the budgeting agencies of the national government is concerned.
Another reader who wished not to be identified sent me a short e-mail message recently. He asked, "You write about many of the negative things about your town. Isn't it better to emphasize the good things about Lianga? You want to promote your town, don't you?"
When I first started this blog on a whim over two years ago, it was with the intention to write honestly and truthfully about Lianga. More than two hundred posts later, that remains my intention.
I do not write a post intentionally to promote this town as a tourist destination or as a place to live or invest money in. That is a job I leave for others.
I write about Lianga because it is my town and like me it is both blessed and flawed in many ways. One cannot just talk about the good things without delving into the dark and shadowy, not so pleasant aspects of life here.
To chase away complacency and apathy, one has to to rock the boat. At least once in a while.