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Rough Cuts | Solving Davao’s burgeoning traffic mess

We were in some parts of the mountainous areas of Davao City’s second district recently. We were awed at the sight of the level of development in terms of road infrastructure. The road to Callawa from Mandug is now fully concreted even as another road connecting Davao City and Panabo City via Barangay San Roque is also on its way to being fully cemented.

The road that connects the third and the second district via Lamanan, Megkawayan, Malabog, Sumimao exiting in Lasang or in Panabo is also fully paved with concrete including the bridges that span the many rivers and creeks on the route.

Going to Paquibato proper via Mapula is no longer a hell of a travel because of the cemented road. And according to a friend of ours who has visited Tapak, the farthest barangay of Davao City in the second district, the once very rugged road leading to the area is now undergoing expansion.

We have noted as well in the course of our travel that heavy equipment for road construction and improvement are present in that upland component of Davao City’s second district.

All these are, without doubt, due largely to the national administration’s “Build, build, build” program.

We are hoping that with the easing of access to the former “No man’s land” of the city through the road network being thoroughly improved, government services will also be delivered correspondingly to the residents in the area.

We also look forward to the infrastructure development not becoming tools for aggression and instead improve the lives of people in the beneficiary barangays.

Moreover, we feel it imperative for our local and national leaders to craft measures that the culture and traditions of the Lumad in the areas will be protected. We are certain that with easy and safe access to the mountain barangays in the second district the moneyed lowlanders are now salivating to acquire properties in those uplands.

And since money is the more persuasive talker it is likely that such enticement will be too strong for the natives to turn down offers to buy their ancestral domain.

As a consequence the indigenous people, or what remain of them, will be pushed farther to the hinterlands.

More importantly, we are looking at the possibility that the expected improvement in the lives of residents in the Paquibato barangays as a result of the much enhanced accessibility, whatever remnants of the insurgents that made the area their last bastion, will go back to the fold of the law.

After all, the President’s offer to help rebel returnees to government still stands. They can avail of it and lead new lives.

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Talking of the burgeoning vehicular traffic in Davao City, the local government for now has still a substantial lead time to address the problem as compared to that of the national capital region (NCR) or Metro Manila.

And the city is actually in the midst of implementing projects that are the solutions to the local traffic problem for the long term. All the local and national governments have to do is fast track the implementation.

We are referring to the on-going coastal road project that runs on Davao City’s shoreline from Sta. Ana in the city proper to Matina Aplaya, Talomo, Bago Aplaya up to somewhere in Binugao or Sirawan (?) in Toril district.

Another is the new bypass road from Tigatto with component tunnels that cut across the mountains of Magtuod and Matina Pangi exiting in Catalunan Grande crossing the Talomo River towards Catalunan Pequeno going to Toril. This was reported by no less than the City Mayor as ready for construction take-off last April 2019 yet.

We also have the ongoing expansion and concreting of the Banarao Road from Talandang in the third district slicing through a banana plantation of Dole-Stanfilco intended for connection with the newly cemented highway in Callawa through a bridge. This will provide direct access to the Davao sea and air ports both located in the northern sector of the city.

Then there is already the existing Magtuod-New Carmen-New Valencia-Talandang-Calinan road that has not been fully maximized as incoming and outgoing route for public transportation. We have no doubt that this road can be an option for public utility vehicles with passengers all bound for the city proper or all for Calinan going back.

If this scheme will be enforced by our city transport and traffic management planners we can be assured of a big dent in the number of vehicles using the Ulas-Bangkal-Matina stretch of the now extremely busy MacArthur highway during most hours of the day.

In other words, there are already existing and on-the-implementation-stage solutions to Davao City’s traffic problem this early. All the local and national governments have to do is to enforce its use (for the existing ones), and hasten the completion of the on-going infrastructure projects like the coastal highway and the new road networks. They must also craft policies that would not result to the new access routes becoming “white elephants,” or simply used as sun dryers for copra or palay or cacao and coffee beans.

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