Skip to main content

Dam(n) Proactivity


I thought then that to be proactive was always desirable.

Bringing an umbrella in London even without a “rain forecast” is always a good thing, because even the weather bureau at BBC fails to predict weather conditions a number of times. But it is another story when you wear winter clothes in Bohol because you anticipate that the snow would come any time of the day.

Call that insane proactivity, if you like. But it is how government is run sometimes in this part of the archipelago. You build a dam and then wait for the water level to rise (reminds me of that bridge that never gets finished because it would destroy an-age old church).

This October, President Macapagal Arroyo once again visited her favoured Bohol to officially inaugurate the Bayongan Dam, completed in controversy as it exceeded its 2.3 billion project cost by 52% (Bohol Chronicle, 14 October 2007). Despite opposition from farmer’s groups because of the project’s effects on the environment and its uselessness to address agricultural productivity due to insufficiency of water source, and despite the studies that indicate projected failure of the dam to service all of its intended beneficiaries (Bohol Chronicle, 10 October 2007), the project was completed and inaugurated two weeks ago.

NEDA technical evaluation showed that the dam will only be able to service between 50-65% of the 4,900 service area. The said evaluation also mentioned the dam’s dependence on the excess water from the Malinao Dam (which unfortunately also was not able to meet its service expectations) to be able to meet its own service projections. At the surface, it would seem that a dam was built hoping that very soon the water would rise, an assumption that is built within a context of an inevitable climate change (for which Al Gore was awarded the recent Nobel Prize, what a good way to reclaim fame!). Good if it is only like winter clothes that do not cost much and can be taken off when the snow wouldn’t come. Unfortunately, the Bayongan Dam was the country’s most expensive so far, and will be a relatively permanent fixture in the next ten years or so (not unless government will be able to pay its debt and acquire another one again to destroy it).

If development is to be equated with roads, dams, and bridges, then Bohol has every reason to be awarded for excellence. But infrastructure development does not always make poor people richer. In some cases, it’s the rich who get richer, and get awarded for it.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Tsk tsk tsk another public money going to the drain.
Anonymous said…
This reminds of that old joke about a certain aspiring politician who wooed voters by promising to build them a bridge (or dam, in this case) to cross if he wins. When the people asked him why build a bridge when there is no river in their place, he simply replied, "So we will build one, too!" Our politicians are always quick in coming up with solutions even if there is no problem in the first place.

Popular posts from this blog

The Lack of a Backup Plan and Why Ribbon Cuttings Won’t Do the Trick

  I spoke with a friend of mine a few days back, and he told me he is now ready to implement his backup plan – which is to migrate to another country to study a new field and leave all his tourism-related businesses behind.   He told me he did not see it coming. Like with all the others in his sector, he thought that COVID19 is a temporary anomaly and won’t stay for long.     But now, all his businesses are closed, and his cash reserve is bleeding. Despite the many times that the Provincial Government of Bohol announces re-opening with ribbon-cutting events here and there, tourists did not come by truckloads.   They came like summer rain – very few and far in between.     The province’s economic recovery plan is ill-advised and short-sighted.   We all know we relied primarily on tourism to fuel the local economy despite the fact that the sector is the most affected by the pandemic and will continue to be so in at least 3 to five years based on conservative

What is the Church's Business in the Dauis Renaissance Program?

Introduction This paper presents an analysis, in financial perspective, of the details of the agreement entered into by parties 1) The Bishop of Tagbilaran, 2) Beatriz Susanna Zobel de Ayala, 3) Dauis Renaissance Company, Inc. and signed on June 24, 2008 in Dauis, Bohol, Philippines. As the agreement is vague in some respects, figure computations were interpreted on the basis of its implications to financial statements of the “Dauis Renaissance Company”, both currently and prospectively. The paper is structured in three parts. The first section analyses the facts of the agreement and its implication on assets, equities, and net income projections. The relevant provisions of the agreement are cited side by side with the analysis. The second section represents the general independent appraisal of the author on the “Dauis Renaissance Company”, taking collectively all the facts mentioned in the first section. The annex section presents a list of important financial terms which are defin

The Problem with Representative Democracy

The Bohol Chronicle reported today (27 December 2009) that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has given a go-signal for the governor of the province of Bohol to sign a joint venture and development agreement (JVDA) with Oasis Leisure Islands Development Inc. (OLIDI) to reclaim at least 450 hectares by building 5 islets at Panglao Bay. The provincial lawmakers believed that the proposal was advantageous to the government, as it will not spend any single peso for the project, from its inception to implementation. Interestingly, the Bohol Chronicle reported that Vice Governor Herrera stressed that "Several discussions have been made and the SP met with the proponents many times. Concerns of each board member have been satisfactorily answered." I was appalled. It seems that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members have not read the proposal in its entirety. I wonder if they could answer questions if reporters will ask them for the details of the proposal. I wonder