When the public notice a road that is substandard or with poor conditions, the blame is instantly pinned on the engineers and contractors. Yes, it is the fundamental right of the people to ask where the taxes they pay go, but this is rather unfair.
While it’s true that engineers and contractors are responsible for building the public works, in most cases, it’s not entirely them that is the root of this engineering failure: it’s the government.
The government’s role in building roads is being downplayed. Because the officials do not make the roads themselves or implement the government projects, the taxpayers easily think that the engineers and contractors are the ones at fault when the projects fail to meet the standards.
In case they missed it: the government is in control of the funding. Officials in various levels of the government conveniently assess and adjust the project funding of public works. Granted by that power, they cut the budget and put the money in their own pockets.
Such is the case in the Philippines where there is rampant corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Over the years this was the trend nationwide, with the effects of corruption visible: roads of poor quality.
When one asks a regular Filipino about which government agency he or she thinks is the most corrupt, the DPWH is the first thing that pops into mind, if not the Bureau of Customs or the Land Transportation Office.
This intervention in the budget disallows the engineers and contractors to build roads and other projects of high quality. It is not the engineers or contractors’ choice to make as they are but doing their jobs based on the budget that they are given.
Of course, lesser budget could mean that the quality of the project is compromised. The bad news is that the people only see the public works and not what happens prior to that.
At times, however, there is accountability among engineers and contractors who hold the public works even when the funds are allocated well. Negligence or a personal interest of the money may have transpired which made the quality of public works suffer.
But notice that cities with the best roads rarely have a taint of corruption in their government, while those having the worst roads are controlled by government filled with controversies.
Source: Windsor Star
The engineers and contractor’s job is to make sure that public roads and highways are safe, secure, and easily traversable. The elected officials’ job is to allocate the money, out of people’s taxes, to make the engineer’s job possible.
If elected officials fail to do their job, following that logic, engineers and contractors are doomed to fail in what they do. And it is the engineers who are seen to be at fault, when it should be the government.