By: Alex P. Vidal
“There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve.” – Dick Cheney
IF the Duterte administration will cancel the much-ballyhooed Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros Bridge Project estimated to be worth US $1 billion, it will be tantamount to canceling the dreams and aspirations of the entire Western Visayas altogether.
It will fiercely whip up mixed feelings of hatred, deceit, nightmares and frustrations for the entire Ilonggo populace.
Hatred at those who promised people in Western Visayas the moon and the stars.
Especially at politicians who used the project to prop up and deodorize their public image and candidacy in the recent elections to boot.
Nightmares and frustrations for those who had doggedly and passionately pinned their hopes on the dream bridge for a better future in terms of smooth and easy access from one island province to another, and to other regions thereafter.
The Ilonggos will never forgive the Duterte administration.
Ilonggos will think they have been conned, deceived, and taken for a ride for more than three years since the building of the mega project was first dangled to them by this administration.
For three years now, the bridge that would help expedite travel time and solve all major issues relating to transportation of goods and passengers to and fro the aforementioned regional islands, has been in their imagination and fantasy.
For three years now, Ilonggos tolerated and allowed politicians led by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar to loudly and proudly brag about the project and bring their minds to the world of ecstasy and fantasy.
When they are now nearing the climax of their hallucinations, the project would be scrapped with a snap of a finger?
Incredible. Unimaginable. Unacceptable. Horrendous.
Let’s hope that when Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia announced recently they won’t push through with at least 75 major infrastructure projects “due to huge expenses and engineering issues”, the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge Project was not one of them.
The mammoth bridge project had been advertised as part of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program and the bridge network is supposed to provide increased inter-connectivity in the provinces of Western Visayas and Cebu in Central Visayas.
If realized, it can stimulate economic activity in the two regions and help, in one way or another, in the decongestion of Metro Manila in the process.
Let’s hope it would not become a case of from “build, build, build” to tears, outrage and antipathy.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)