Apparently, regular motorists aren’t the only ones noticing how electrical poles remain obstructions following road-widening projects. Several members of the Philippine Senate have taken note of the issue as well.
According to a report by ABS-CBN News, the issue of poles remaining in the middle of roads after widening projects was tackled by the Senate last week. How much will it cost to remove these hazards? Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who defended the budget during the plenary, says it will take P3.7 billion to relocate them.
The senator added that there was already a joint circular by the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) last year meant to tackle the problem. In fact, P3 billion was already allotted for these poles’ relocation. Despite this, Gatchalian said around 60,000 obtrusive poles remain.
“[The joint circular says that] by the end of 2019, Dec. 31, there should be no more obstruction on the road. We know it is the end of 2020 there are still 60,000 poles along the road,” Gatchalian said.
“Interestingly, we also found out that in the work programs of those road widenings, the cost of removing those poles is embedded in those programs. It means that the government has been allocating funds to remove all those poles in all of the work programs.”
The senator attributes these mistakes to a lack of coordination between the DOE and DPWH. He has stressed the issue to the two agencies and has given them until the first half of 2021 to resolve it.
“It is a simple lack of coordination. They should now implement those joint circulars because those specified how to execute this and I am requesting and mandating them that to finish the removal of the posts, by early part of next year because the funds are already there and all they have to do is sit down and work out a timetable to remove it,” the senator stressed.
The 2019 joint circular between the DOE and DPWH reportedly includes compensation for cooperatives to remove obtrusive poles. According to the report, 121 of them are ready to begin relocation efforts as funds have already been allocated.