How can citizens take charge of #OpenRoads?
MANILA, Philippines – Roads are the country’s economic lifeblood. They provide farmers, businessmen, and consumers access to market and pave the way for increased productivity and income.
In the Philippines, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is responsible for the creation, improvement, and maintenance of national roads. The local government units (LGUs), on the other hand, are accountable for all the local roads, which make up 85% of the total road network.
This set-up, however, brings to light important questions: Are LGUs capable of carrying out this task? Is it possible to insulate road projects from politics?
Netizens tackled these questions during the online conversation conducted by MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm, on Monday, April 6.
The online discussion was held alongside the #OpenRoads Rappler Talk with Commission on Audit chairperson Michael Aguinaldo, Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) Director for Planning Development Services Rolyn Zambales, and World Bank Senior Economist Kai Kaiser.
Online reach of #OpenRoads
Let’s take a look at the conversation, its leaders, and what netizens are saying about the country's roads.
To map the extent of the online conversation, we ran Reach, Rappler's social listening tool. Reach monitors specific keywords to identify the social media influencers, visualize the discussion, and identify participants’ roles in the discussion.
Based on the data, the online discussion reached 104 million impressions, amplified by 60 unique authors. On Twitter, "impressions" means "the times a user is served a Tweet in timeline or search results." It peaked at 10:25 am, before the Rappler Talk aired online.
On local roads
What transpired in the online conversation?
The absence of a single agency responsible for Philippine roads, Twitter user Jay Moli said, is one of the causes of corruption.
Rappler researcher Aika Rey and Agos community manager Lou Gepuela explained that this gap poses problems especially for local roads management.
The path to making sure that projects are insulated from politics, while bumpy, is straightforward, said Aguinaldo, Zambales, and Kaiser.
To help improve the quality of roads in the country, citizens should take charge, they said.
During the Rappler Talk, Aguinaldo emphasized the role citizens play in making sure that public funds for roads are properly used by leaders.
"It is important to have a regime where the leader is not corrupt, and most importantly, is perceived not to be corrupt,” Aguinaldo said.
This is a challenge for Filipinos who will elect about 80,000 new leaders in May.
This was echoed by netizens during the discussion.
Who should take charge
Kaiser emphasized another way for citizens to take charge. According to him, utilizing technology on mapping road projects, or geo-tagging, can help track ghost projects in communities.
Through the OpenRoads portal, the public can check in the Internet which roads are being rehabilitated or upgraded. From start to completion, the status of a road project can be tracked.
The portal contains the uploaded provincial road network maps, as well as other road projects. Soon, videos of the conditions of priority roads will also be uploaded. - Rappler.com
Take charge and join the movement! Tweet photos that matter to you using the hashtag #OpenRoads!