By Jaime Pilapil
We Bicolanos envy so much those from the North. Not because they are smarter than us but because of the beautiful, well built road to Baguio, Ilocos and Tuguegarao.
Right after the SLEX, you will start experiencing bumpy roads and they get worse toward Quezon and then all the way to the 60-kilometer diversion now called Rolando Andaya Sr. Highway.
Some call it the “boulevard of broken dreams”, others describe it as not just “bad” but the most “terrible” highway in the world today.
A motorist even said that a brand new car is instantly five-year older after passing the Rolando Andaya Sr. Highway, a fitting tribute to the former congressman of Camarines Sur and father of his namesake, now the country’s budget czar.
I experienced passing the “craters of corruption” when I went home to Sorsogon early this year. I survived the ordeal but I pitied my car that when I went back to Manila, I did not pass through the “ANDAYA” (meaning: CHEAT in the vernacular) highway and took the longer route via Daet, which was a nice trip interrupted by seven bridges under construction.
I could still vividly recall in the mid 1990s, the Andaya Sr. Highway (it was then called Quirino Highway) was well manicured and passing it was a pleasure all the way to Lucena City. Until 1998, the road was in perfect condition.
When I inquired recently from Public Works Sec. Jun Ebdane, he said cascading debris during typhoons wash away the concreted highway, making it difficult to maintain it.
Of course Ebdane’s explanation is unacceptable. Why not make the highway sturdy enough that not even cascading debris can destroy it? Maybe it has the most poorly designed road plan.
I’m sure Bicolanos will not vote for Ebdane if ever he seeks a senate seat in next year’s elections.
It was in early 2004 when the Quirino Highway was renamed Rolando Andaya Sr. Highway, and since then the highway was never brought back to its splendid condition in the 90’s.
Since it is part of a Nautical Highway, President Arroyo ordered DBM to prepare P500 million for its rehabilitation. After spending more than P200 million, the entire stretch of the cheated highway is still bumpy and littered with potholes.
Obviously, they don’t want to ultimately fix it so the flow of corruption will continue uninterrupted.
Bicolanos deserve safe and strong road networks so we can fully develop our region into a tourism hub.
Now that the 2010 election is fast approaching and Cheat Jr. will soon be jobless, a bill is being rushed to create an additional district for Camarines Sur to accommodate Cheat Jr. Arroyo’s son, Dato succeeded Andaya Jr. as representative of Camarines Sur in 2007 elections.
Mr. Andaya Jr., I will stop calling you Cheat Jr. if you please make a personal crusade to DPWH to build a sturdy, quite and safe Rolando Andaya Sr. Highway. -30-