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Corruption blamed for Metro traffic jams

By: Ben R. Rosario

A veteran opposition lawmaker has blamed corruption in public works agencies as among the major contributors of monstrous traffic jams that have hit Metro Manila and other urban areas in the country.

House Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza aired this accusation as he called on Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar and local government units to closely monitor all road and drainage projects that are on-going or are due for implementation, saying that those found to be deliberately slowing down work should be banned from participating in any government projects.

At a recent Saturday news forum in Quezon City, Atienza decried the delay in all ongoing construction in many Metro Manila streets, saying that road closure and route detours have triggered serious traffic bottlenecks on main streets.

The party-list solon also assailed contractors, especially in Quezon City, for failing to observe safety measures by leaving nearly abandoned road works without warning signs.

In Quezon City, contractors tapped by the city government have excavated streets and practically abandoned them while awaiting for the local government to deliver payment advances.

“More often than not, those assigned to do road construction and drainage improvement jobs are mere sub-contractors who do not have enough capital to implement government infrastructure projects,” Atienza said.

He also attributed the construction delay to the “long and unrealistic construction work duration” granted by government agencies to contractors.

Atienza disclosed that he his office has received numerous complaints against the delay in the completion of road works, especially in Projects 2, 3, and 4, Cubao, and Murphy, all in Quezon City.

The former Manila Mayor stressed that not only have the road contractors contributed to traffic jams, they have also posed danger to the lives of residents by leaving excavations and drainage works open and without warning signs.