Traveling by road around the Lianga area nowadays, particularly on the Lianga to San Agustin road section can be hazardous to one's health and well-being. There might be some local people here who might say that I may be exaggerating a bit on that point but for the many who do regularly ply that same route on a daily or weekly basis the truth is plain for them to see and experience.
In a past blog post I have mentioned the fact that the concreting of the road and highway system around Lianga has been going on for some time now. In some areas like the southern Lianga to Barobo road section, the rehabilitation and concreting work has been going at breakneck speed. One can almost see the progress on a daily basis and people like me who travel around regularly can almost see the paved portions of the national highway from both Barobo and Lianga creep inexorably towards each other, finally meet in the middle and become one unbroken, gray ribbon of concrete spanning 14 or so kilometers.
The road from Lianga to San Agustin to the north is another story. For some reason, the rehabilitation and concreting work has been plagued by unexplained delays and a failure on the part of the private contractors undertaking the massive project to keep portions of that road section conveniently accessible and passable to motorists at the same time.
Some sections, particularly along that 20 or so kilometer stretch are virtual quagmires of sticky mud on rainy days simply waiting like treacherous quicksand traps ready to ensnare vehicles of all kinds of sizes from private vehicles to commuter buses and cargo trucks. On hot, muggy and sunny days they become long sections of furrowed, undulating and hardened mud tracks that can wreck a car's suspension system or tear off portions of its under chassis when you least expect it.
Imagine then the severe physical and mental stress the average Joe has to endure as he gamely tries to get from Lianga to the northern municipalities of the province and back again. It does not matter if he takes the bus or rides his own private vehicle, he is going to get physically battered and mentally aggravated just the same.
Personnel from the government's Department of Public Works and Highways have blamed the unseasonal rainy weather for the disruption of the contractors' work schedules and the terrible road conditions. Perhaps there is indeed some truth to this excuse but there are also may local observers here who blame the usual lackadaisical attitude among DPWH officials who often fail to strictly supervise and monitor on-going road infrastructure work being undertaken by private construction firms for the government.
Under such heavily relaxed monitoring, contractors often take convenient construction shortcuts and flaunt standard procedures at the expense of the traveling public who have to pass through their work zones and areas. The priority becomes getting the infrastructure work done swiftly for maximum profit and with little or no attention focused on the detour and access roads that commuters have to use in order to skirt or go through the road sections under construction.
The blunt message being sent, therefore, to the traveler and the general public is simple as it is direct to the point: We are busy with building a new road for you so you have to make the best of the terrible road conditions. When the new road will finally be completed (who knows when that will be with all the delays anyway), all the hassle and inconvenience you have suffered will just be a dim memory anyway.
In this country, it seems that all good things must come as a the result of great sacrifice, pain and much inconvenience. Why that must be is a question that we have to ask ourselves time and time again.