Safety First

Joel Fagsao, who blogs at Mountain Life and who maintains the website has a sad letter about a truck driver who died when boulders fell on his truck while driving on the Halsema Road. Some excerpts from Joel’s letter:

On September 14, 2007 at about 9:00 PM, Winston Sili Pawid, a native of Lesseb, Bauko was driving home towards Bontoc. He is a truck driver of Ranee Enterprises, the San Miguel Beer products dealer here in Mountain Province owned by Mrs. Eugenia Manao. When his truck passed by within the vicinity of Lukib, boulders and all fell down on his truck. The landslide carried with it his truck down below. It was only in the morning of September 15, 2007 that the incident was discovered. Winston leaves behind 1.6 year old son and his wife, Geraldine Cabiadan Pawid who is my employee.

Joel sent his letter to the provincial board of Mt. Province and asked the body to enact measures that would ensure public safety particularly during the construction of high-impact government infrastructure projects. We, of course, support Joel’s action and hope that the provincial board listens to his pleas. We don’t need another death to remind us that some accidents CAN be avoided.

More from Joel’s letter:

You can’t help but notice the potential dangers of the mountainsides. They are β€œkiller” mountains waiting for the next victim. There is not even an advisory on road conditions on all exit roads.

Now is the time to act. Now is the time to institute local legislation on holding contractors responsible and ensure that ongoing projects provide adequate safety measures starting with their workers and the public at large.

You can read the whole letter here. You might also want to check out this video.

Related story below:

Motorists appeal for road safety measures along Halsema
By Andrew Doga-ong
BONTOC, Mt. Province — The lack of road safety measures and advisories on the road condition of the on-going Halsema road improvement project particularly Phase II or the Mt. Data to Bontoc road section is exposing its road users to danger and unnecessary inconvenience.

Joel Fagsao, owner of the Xijen Computer School here, aired the observations of most road users of the Mt. Data to Bontoc road, which is now under-going widening and concreting project, in an effort that this sentiment be given proper attention.

In his letter to vice governor Louis Claver and the members of the Provincial Board, Fagsao underscored the need for a local legislation on road safety measures and other related government projects in Mt. Province.

Fagsao noted that the on-going road-widening and concreting projects along the Mt. Data to Bontoc route is sorely lacking in warning devices and traffic management including directories for motorists. “There is not even an advisory on roads conditions on all exit roads,” he said.

Fagsao believes that presence of warning devices and proper traffic management especially in critical portion of the road under repair could help minimize if not prevent the destruction of properties, unnecessary accidents or even loss of lives.

He cited the road incident last September 13 along the on-going road widening at barangay Lukib, Bauko where truck driver Winston Sili Pawid met his instant death when boulders fell on his truck and landslide carried it down.

Expressing his feelings, Fagsao wrote, “Yes, Winston was there at the wrong time, at the wrong place but let’s put things into perspective.”

Recently, drivers and owners of vehicles plying the Sabangan to Bontoc road have also brought out their ill-feelings on the contractors of this multi-million project for their seeming disregard to the road safety of motorists.

Fagsao appealed to the members of the Provincial Board to institute local laws to hold contractors responsible and ensure that ongoing projects provide adequate safety measures to their workers and the public at large.

The on-going improvement of the Halsema Highway is part of the flagship program of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the North Luzon Agri-Business Quadrangle.

RELATED: Complaining Does Produce Results; One of the Worst Highways in the World. INFO SOURCE: Mountain Life, PIA/Mt. Province.

9 thoughts on “Safety First”

  1. Greetings. This is Kent from Sagada and I would like to make a comment about this post. I take the bus from Sagada to Baguio and back once a month. I’ve noticed the unsafe conditions on the road and wondered when someone would die because of it. Well, it’s happened. I would think something could be done to protect the road from slides before digging away more and more of the side of the roads. I know it’s a hard job but it’s true… safety comes first. If the government and contractors can’t provide safety to travelers on the road then they shouldn’t do anything. It was safer a year ago than it is now. I’ve heard so many bad comments about this construction and now someone with a family dies.

    Please, please keep the road safe during the construction.

    Kent Sinkey

  2. kasi kinukurakot yung funds for the construction kaya instead of using high quality materials, eh tinipid ang mga ginagamit..


  3. Kudos to Mr. Joel Fagsao for writing the vice-governor. At least he has taken the time to put his (and everyone else’s) complaints in writing. It alerts the public officials that the citizens are watching, especially so in this instance.

    My condolences to the family of Winston Pawid.

  4. True..true…Halsema’s sorry road condition has always been this way.. delaying trips, claiming lives…milking funds…its good Joel Fagsao brought to the Sanggunian Panlalawigan the need for safety posts.Here’s to adding that the legislative body should also come up with measures for regularly monitoring of the highway including projects implemented here ta haan nga makurakut iti kaykayat ladta dagiti mannibrung he he!

  5. Hi Kent,
    Thanks. Sadly, the importance of safety has not permeated the public consciousness partly, I think, because we tend to be fatalistic as a people. That’s why I’m glad that Joel brought this up (and salute him for doing so) because his letter puts public safety on the agenda.

    I really hope that government officials do everything necessary to make our roads much safer than they are now. Thanks πŸ™‚

    Hi ilocano blogger,
    Oo nga eh. Too bad. I heard from someone that as much as 50% of a project budget is wasted on pasuksok/SOPs/kickbacks. Quite sad, really. Thanks.

    Hi Layad,
    Yup, we need more people like Joel ano. As you said, he alerted people to the problem (which is obvious, by the way). Minsan kasi, our officials tend not to act unless someone called their attention to it. This time, with Joel’s letter, the official’s can’t say, “Ay ganoon ba? Hindi namin alam ang problema eh.” Thanks πŸ™‚

    Hi Nadjhin,
    Thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚ It would be interesting too to see what the SP will do following this letter. Hopefully, they won’t just talk about it and then do nothing. It’s true that projects should be monitored. Maybe we should come up with our own monitoring group. What do you think :-). Thanks.

  6. Monitoring group is a good idea. People concern will be precautious when they know they’re being watched. That would be a tough job though.

    Hope this letter will serve it’s purpose. And when acted upon, high hopes again that it will not be a ‘ningas kugon’ scenario.

  7. Monitoring is not only the government peoples’ job. While we rely on them to do their job, they may not monitor the way we want them to monitor obviously because of the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads considering bureaucratic enslavery which most often times is personal censorship on their part.

    With their 8:00 to 5:00 workclocks, their working and mental disposition is most of the time based on this 8 hour job which in most cases land up to only 2 hours working time considering their break times to include snack time, crossword puzzle time, and chicka time with their co-worker at the next table near them.

    Added to their limited working time is the nagging thought that they might end up losing their jobs if they report a bad job done to its hilt ha ha! and thus might as well cosmetize their report not to hurt “their job”.

    AS exemplified in the recent advocacy against Halsema road projects done irregularly, is the work of a few individuals (not from the government) who diligently initiated and consistently monitored and still monitoring the projects if done properly or not.

    The need for monitoring lies in us, people, independent individuals, to equally monitor people in government do their jobs and the projects which they do as well. Tapnu in this case, haan nga maging “ningas cogon”.

    On the other hand, at least adda ti ningas cogon nga nairugi ket naynayunan ti dadduma ah ta monitoring is a sacrificial work to do and those who started will take a break and continue serving her or his family, while others will continue the work.

    Kasdiay ngarud kakadwa…and keep monitoring.

  8. Where does Vic D, Governor Dalog, and the rests of the politicians take when exiting their respective homes to go to Baguio or Manila? Do these people use helicopters?
    Hmmm, just curious.. Cheers to all regardless.

  9. Hi Lovelyn,
    Hehe, mukhang we will really be serious with this monitoring idea ano? I agree that one of the reasons why some people can get away with corruption is because they are not being watched. As I said to Layad in another post, I’ll try to get it touch with Cordi-based bloggers/people and bring this up with them.

    Sana nga its not ningas cogon πŸ™‚ Thanks.

    Hi nadjhin,
    That’s true. I agree with you that the government people, given the current setup, can only do so much. At some point, we ordinary people must also do their part. Thanks πŸ™‚

    Hi Trublue,
    They use their special cars — 4×4 yata ang tawag doon hehe (joke,joke). But national politicians like GMA and Chavit Singson use helicopters.

    Thanks and welcome back πŸ™‚

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