Enough is enough
By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Oct. 17, 2012 at 12:01am | 1,054 views
For months now, a brand new flyover traversing Commonwealth Avenue, a national road in Quezon City, has remained half-closed. There is nothing wrong with the structure—the road is well paved and ready for use. In fact, the government “opened” the flyover in April, more than seven months ago.
On one side of the flyover, vehicles from Tandang Sora Avenue can cross Commonwealth Avenue with ease to reach Luzon Avenue. Motorists coming from Luzon Avenue, however, may not use the same finished flyover because that side of the road has been closed to vehicular traffic, and has become instead a multi-million-peso promenade for the squatter residents along Luzon Avenue who want to take a leisurely stroll along government property.
The problem, the Department of Public Works and Highways tells us, is that some 30 to 80 squatter families on the other side of the flyover in Old Balara refuse to leave their homes built on government land and are blocking construction of a road that will connect the flyover to Katipunan Avenue and the C-5 highway.
In a recent interview, the Highways official in charge of the project refused to assume responsibility for the delay but did not say who should be held accountable. He says the government’s policy has been to offer the squatters in the area money to move—an option that some have accepted but others have refused.
The upshot of this refusal to move and the government’s complete failure to enforce the law is the huge traffic jams along Tandang Sora Avenue, a nightmare that bedevils taxpaying motorists every blessed day. In the meantime, the squatters who continue to defy the government and thwart a major national infrastructure project are being rewarded with a bonus: they get to set up market stalls on the ruins of their neighbors’ demolished homes and paved portions of a public road that may never be used.
There are ill effects on the other side of the flyover as well. With very little traffic along their street and no police or traffic enforcers to tell them otherwise, the squatters of Luzon Avenue have encroached on the road, turning one lane of it into their own private parking or extensions of their roadside businesses.
Every day, thousands of motorists put themselves and their vehicles at risk while navigating the narrow, poorly paved stretch of Tandang Sora Avenue. Tempers flare, accidents occur, untold man-hours are lost all because the government is unable to eject the stubborn, thick-faced illegal settlers who stand between us and progress.
This is an administration that has ousted a Supreme Court justice in a mere two to three months and hounded an Ombudsman from her office. It has also shamed a senator into giving up his chairmanship of the ways and means committee. Have the bullies in the Palace finally met their match in the hoodlums of Old Balara?