There will be 1,000 buses to replace some 7,000 jeepneys now plying the various routes in Davao City. This is expected to happen starting early next year when the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) will kick off its operation.
According to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio during her State of the City Address (SOCA) last Monday HPBS implementation is now very urgent as there is need to solve the burgeoning traffic situation in the city.
The mayor said that in order to jumpstart the HPBS the Sangguniang Panlungsod has approved a P100 million fund taken from the city’s Supplemental Budget No. 1.
But based on the news report it seems the mayor was not quite clear on the P100 million funds. Will it only be for the cost of the initial units to be procured and fielded in the pre-identified routes? Or, will the P100 million also include the amount intended for assistance to the displaced drivers and affected operators?
May be there is need for the city government to clarify some issues in connection with the HPBS considering that this is a noble project and the stakeholders are constituents of the mayor.
Will the city government be the operator of the new bus system? Will the HPBS become another addition to the many existing city enterprises from where it is expected to earn revenues?
If the answer to the two questions is yes, then the HPBS becomes the city’s vehicle in its public transport business.
In the light of the strong opposition of the existing privately-controlled transportation business to the public utility jeep modernization program, we feel the HPBS as a city-operated business is a well taken move. It not only helps the city find new sources of income but it will also prevent the faster evolution of the Davao traffic situation into a humongous problem.
However, if the HPBS is to become a major economic enterprise of the city it must be under the management of an office peopled by competent managers and staff. Political affiliation of those who will be appointed to run the HPBS must be a far-behind consideration.
What with the multi-million peso investments that the local government will be sinking in only to be squandered by political lackeys.
Another important aspect of the HPBS implementation that the city must consider is the process of compensating the public utility jeep operators whose businesses will be devastated once the 1,000 buses under the HPBS start elbowing them out of their routes.
Dealing with those who are about to lose their main source of income is quite dangerous. Some of those affected will most likely take a highly adversarial position and may even be willing to gamble their interest at any cost.
From here we can see that our local officials led by her Honor Mayor Sara D. Carpio must maintain a fair enough balancing act, specifically in giving commuters in the city the best of its services even as they have to have a strong grip on the policy that authorizes the operation of the HPBS that for certain will have its negative effect on private individuals or corporations having franchises on certain city routes.
Here is this funniest, even the craziest of ideas we have ever encountered in our life.
We are referring to a challenge thrown by a congresswoman belonging to the activist group Gabriella, one Arlene Brosas, for the elective public officials and members of the Cabinet to receive salaries equivalent to the minimum wage currently in effect in Manila, or roughly P540 a day.
What’s Brosas’ point? Is she trying to make the lawmakers and other high ranking officials in the government bureaucracy empathize with the multitude of Filipinos who are confronted on a daily basis with all the constraints set in place by poverty?
Will Brosas herself agree to her own proposition especially with the lawmakers’ current salary level of about P120,000 a month plus allowances on their membership in different committees?
In a position where millions of pesos have to be spent in order to win, or millions of pesos spent in lobbying to get appointed, we doubt if Brosas herself will ever accept her own challenge.