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Zamboanga City’s perennial problem…busted street lights 


A portion of Veteran’s Avenue in downtown Zamboanga City is in total darkness October 31, 2014 due to broken street poles. Many other villages have the same problem for many years now and making it very dangerous for motorists. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – More and more roads in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines are becoming more dangerous at night for motorists and residents due to faulty and busted street poles, and it remains a perennial concerns for many people.

And the people with the Zamboanga City General Services Office (GSO) under Engineer Rene dela Cruz tasked to maintain the street poles seem to be unaware of the problems or were ignoring them.

Virtually every village within 30 kilometers of downtown area, including main thoroughfares in Zamboanga have portions which are unlighted at night due to broken street poles. And there were also areas that street lights are turned on even if it is daytime and obviously its daylight sensor – which turns on at dusk and turns off at sunrise – is defective, and no one from the GSO is also fixing the problem.

And added to the inefficiency of the GSO is the continuing theft of electrical wires in street poles that officials publicly used as alibis for their failure to efficiently maintain the road lighting system. Worse, even traffic lights are broken and nothing is being done to address the problems that add up to the rising criminality – robberies, hold-ups, snatching and gun attacks and killings – in Zamboanga City.

And many motorists and residents have been complaining for a long time now about the failure of GSO in maintaining street poles with some dangerously leaning and could fall at anytime. “It’s very scary to walk in the dark and many also, for sure, feel the same and the fear is just there because we are not even safe during the day and what more at night with all these street lights broken,” one resident Jeng Fernandez said. 

Councilman Percival Ramos has previously proposed to covert the street lights into solar lighting mainly to help save expenses on the part of the local government. He also passed a resolution and approved by the City Council in May this year requesting the GSO through the Office of the City Mayor to study the possibility of converting all street lights, including traffic lights, from electric power to solar power.

He said based on record, the local government spends about P3.5 million a month on electric bills for the street lights alone. And Councilman Vincent Paul Elago also proposed the change of the present street lights to LED lights which is more economical in terms of power consumption.

And just this year, executives from Lim Solar Philippines briefed the City Council about its services and even offered to build a 40mw solar-power plant here in an effort to help provide cheap electricity to Zamboanga which consumes as much as 90mw. The company’s offer is a build-operate-transfer contract entirely financed by Lim Solar Philippines which will operate it for 20 years and then transfer the operation of the facility to the local government.

It also offered to put up solar-power street poles on a build-operate-transfer contract. Lim Solar is a subsidiary of Mendoza Solar, LLC – both a California and a Nevada Corporation with interim offices in the Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)

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