By By Fernan A. Gianan
Bright but expensive In-Road Lights
posted 10-Dec-2019  ·  
721 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Motorists traveling at night at certain sections of the national highway in Catanduanes as well as a strip of the boulevard and Virac will be impressed by the solar-powered LED In-Road Lights embedded in the concrete pavement.

The IRLs, as the light system is referred to in transportation engineering circles, were installed by a contractor of the DPWH regional office and each project covering the length of road usually costs tens of millions of pesos.

According to those in the know, the DPWH-5 bought the lights at more than P13,000 per piece and, thus, if one is to count all those installed in a single stretch of the highway, he would come up with a fantastically rich figure.

For a 500-meter length of highway, assuming there are lights running along the edges of the roadway and at the center line at a one-meter distance, the contractor would install at least 1,500 IRLs at a cost of P19.5 million, assuming labor is already included.

Now, the island’s circumferential road, the main one running from Virac to San Miguel up through the center of Viga to Pandan and back down along the Caramoran-San Andres coast, is 205 kilometers long.

If we wish to have all of it lighting up the night for the enjoyment and safety of motorists, the DPWH-5 would need at least P8 billion just to purchase the IRLs.

Since this would not be possible, the regional office should just revise its installation plan so that the IRLs are installed only at the center line. Installing the lights at the edges of the roadway is not only wasteful but superfluous since the driver needs only to keep the center lights on his left to ensure he is driving on the right lane.

Perhaps, the DPWH Catanduanes, which is normally forbidden from interfering with on-going projects of the regional office, would be allowed to remove the lane lights at the roadway sides and re-install them at the centerline of the highway to extend the effectivity of the lane lighting program.

*****

In relation to the IRLs, the solar-powered lights are now being sold for P4,000 or so per piece.

Since it has become relatively affordable, perhaps Cong. Hector Sanchez could insert in the 2021 budget an extra amount so that the DPWH district engineering office could buy such IRLs on its own and install them at the centerlines of areas unserved by the regional office project.

It could specify IRLs with yellow lights, to be installed at permanently-designated crosswalks or pedestrian lanes to increase visibility at such areas and to alert oncoming drivers to slow down. The cost would be insignificant compared to the potential loss of lives of pedestrians.

*****

An article in a national broadsheet last week states that Catanduanes’ abaca industry has lost P535 million in fiber production due to the Abaca bunchy top disease infestation.

In the exclusive report, the province’s total fiber loss based on a latest assessment came up to 7.8 million kilograms, with the figure obviously multiplied by P68 per kilo.

The problem with the figures, apparently based on an interview with PhilFIDA officials in Catanduanes is that it does not jibe with[U1]  the report presented by the same officials during last week’s committee hearing at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

In its report to the hearing before PBMs Arnel Turado and Rafael Zuniega, PhilFIDA disclosed that as of the first 10 months of 2019, the island’s abaca farmers have produced 16,279.38 metric tons of fiber.

Using the monthly average of 1,628 kilograms and discounting the fact that abaca farmers’ production rises in the last two months of the year as they try to earn as much as they can for the holiday celebrations, the island is bound to produce 19,535 metric tons.

This would be a new low, comparable to the 19,771 metric tons recorded in 2012.

Compared to the 2018 total fiber production of 23,422 metric tons, the 2019 total would be 3,887 metric tons less. At the article’s price of P68 per kilo, total fiber production loss would come up to P264 million.

PhilFIDA should clarify its figures, since in the same hearing, it told the PBMs and the local agriculturists that abaca production in the island is not decreasing but increasing slowly.

*****

    According to weather reports, a new storm is expected to approach the island by Wednesday. It could either pass by or hit us.

   Let us pray to God that this would-be typhoon once again veer to the north and spare our people its destructive effects.

*****

HOW TO DISPERSE A CROWD. A young minister, just out of the seminary, decided to take a job on the police force for a few months, in hopes that the experience would be useful to his work. After passing the physical, he took the oral exam, which was designed to test his mental alertness and his ability to thuink and act quickly and wisely in an emergency.

One of the questions he was asked was, “What would you do to disperse an agitated crowd?”

He quickly replied, “I’d take up a collection!”


 [U1]


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