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Rough Cuts | Where these projects could have been ‘lost’?

Last Thursday evening we saw on television two Davao City personalities confirming the growth of the area during the last three years that the former Davao City mayor has been President of the Philippines.

Our former boss at Davao Light and Power Co. and now President of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) Arturo Milan put emphasis on the strong surge of the property development industry in the city. He told an ABS-CBN news reporter in an interview that local, Manila and Cebu-based property developers are now competing for every available space in the city’s urban center for construction of high-rise office and residential condominiums, as well as for large track of vacant lots in the suburban areas for development into high-end, middle-end and mass residential subdivisions.

According to DCCCII President Milan this phenomenon virtually pulled up the prices of real properties many times over its value years ago.

We strongly agree with our former boss. The city’s skyline is a clear confirmation of what he said of the construction of high-rise office and residential buildings, and large malls in almost all districts of the city. Another proof of course, is the opening of huge housing subdivisions in areas some 20 to 30 kilometers away from the city’s downtown.

Also, the spokesman of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Region XI, a friend of ours and former writer, Dean Ortiz, talked about the several billions of pesos worth of infrastructure projects that have been completed, are ongoing or are in the pipelines.

According to Ortiz, all these indicate the attention given by the Duterte administration to the President’s home city. We also agree with the DPWH spokesman. What we have seen in Davao City’s urban and suburban areas, and even in the most rural of the city’s domain, would clearly affirm the DPWH guy’s claim.

Yes, in almost all barangays in the city’s various political and administrative districts, newly concreted roads are connecting them to the main growth centers.

Some examples of such infrastructure projects are the roads connecting the third and the second districts. One such road connects Calinan in the third district to Malabog up to Lasang and Bunawan in Davao City’s second district, and Panabo City as well. And this road starting from the crossing of Bukidnon-Davao Highway going to Lacson, Lamanan, Megkawayan, then Malabog, down to Sumimao and eventually to Lasang is already concreted.

And when one takes an observant look on every barangay center, he’ll be mesmerized at the growing number of newly built three or four-level concrete school buildings.

There are also two shortcut roads connecting the Marilog district of Davao City with Arakan Valley and Kidapawan in North Cotabato. Again these are concreted making the travel easy, relaxing, and much shorter compared to some five years ago when travelers will have to use the much longer route using the main highway.

However, amidst all these rejoicing brought about by the new level of the city’s development under a Davaoeno President many, including us, are asking what ever happened to the much ballyhooed Mindanao Railway System and the 4-decades in planning Davao-Samal bridge projects.

Hopes shine bright for the realization of the multi-billion peso projects when President Duterte assumed office since it is no secret that he too, is one of those who strongly pushed for the projects when he was mayor of Davao City.

The last time we heard or read about the Mindanao Railway System was when it generated heated discussions among those whose properties are to be affected by the rail’s route. Later we read in local newspapers that the consultants were recommending some adjustments in the project cost. And from there on, deafening silence followed. The regional office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Secretariat of the Regional Development Council (RDC) has not issued updates on the status of the railway project.

As to the Davao-Samal Bridge, the last news we heard about it is that it requires a new feasibility study.

Really, we do not know if the absence of reports on the status of these two giant infrastructure projects for the Davao Region is doing the Duterte administration any good. But not a few of those whom we have talked to told us that it could diminish the President’s credibility with his own co-provincianos in Mindanao.

Maybe it is worth reminding the administration that when the President assumed office these two multi-billion peso projects were the most talked about subjects. Now there are suspicions that the projects’ realization suddenly is starting to go back to its status as another of those nebulous dreams dreamt by everyone while still very much awake.

Lost in transmission? In translation? or in interpretation?
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