Last Tuesday afternoon we saw our idol government servant retired policeman Col. Dionisio Abude, head of the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) interviewed by television news crew.
Abude who is also the head of a task force created by Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio to clear Davao City roads and road shoulders of obstruction, reported the substantial accomplishments of his group on the job assigned it by the city chief executive.
Based on what were presented on television in earlier reports, and on what we have personally seen in areas where Abude’s task force has been operating, the accomplishments can indeed be a source of pride for the men who risked their limbs and lives in destroying the obstructions.
We say that theirs is a risky job because most, if not all of those affected were deprived of their abode and livelihood. Yes, the demolished structures where either makeshift houses built on road shoulders, on top of drainage canals and on sidewalks.
But most obstructions are stalls used by owners to sell various merchandise to the public like “ukay-ukays,” small eateries, vulcanizing shops and mini refreshment parlors. Some are mobile stalls surreptitiously made permanent.
Relatively for now, most downtown roads are cleared of such obstructions. However, we are somewhat exasperated at the failure of Abude’s men to rid certain areas of some glaring violations of the law designating sidewalks, road shoulders and drainage canals solely for the purpose these are provided by government. And that is for easy use by pedestrians and for the flow of rain and wastewater coming from households and establishments.
We are challenging the members of Abude’s task force to make a surprise inspection on the shoulder of the MacArthur Highway, specifically right in front of the Davao SPED High School. We can be certain that they would not fail to see the small structure installed beside the fence of the nearby CENRO headquarter.
We have also observed that some enterprising mechanics, taking advantage of the shade provided by an overpass traversing that part of the highway, do lightning engine and even air-conditioning system repairs of vehicles.
And if it is not asking too much of them, we recommend that Abude’s clearing team proceed to Los Amigos in Tugbok district. All the team has to do is turn right when it reaches the junction going to Biao Guianga.
There, only the blind, and those who pretend to be, would fail to see the train-like structures occupying roughly half a kilometer of the top of what used to be a drainage canal and half of the easement. The row of residential structures virtually attached to each other may not have totally obstructed one side of the road. But there can be no debating that these have occupied half of one of the road shoulders.
Then there are some of the row house owners who have opened mini stores encroaching further to what is left of the easement. And we are not even taking into account the “payong-payongs” using both sides of the Los Amigos-Guianga road as parking spaces while waiting for their turn to pick up passengers!
Why the barangay officials did not intervene when the owners started building the row houses we have no idea. We could only assume that they may be so generous and compassionate for their homeless constituents. Or, they could really be totally clueless of their responsibilities as enforcers of laws at their area of jurisdiction.
But then, again, such area is one of those prohibited for construction whether these are residential or commercial. The occupied portions are a drainage canal and a road shoulder. The other parts, specifically the back, we have no doubt, are private properties.
Thus we are reiterating our dare to Abude’s task force members to inspect the area and see for themselves the actual situation. If the row houses are not obstructions, then what is?
And may be the mayor needs to provide them with magnifying glasses.