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Rough Cuts | Raise your complaints, don’t hide them

What is this report about residents of barangay Waan complaining against the destruction of the barangay road and its conversion into a dusty route?

The report, broadcast over television with barangay residents interviewed, disclosed that the reason why the road has slowly turned into a daily perdition for passers is because there are too many quarrying activities along the banks of Davao River.

Trucks fully loaded with sand, gravel or boulders come and go to and from down the river banks to get their cargo using the Waan road daily.

The sad thing about this is that when the trucks are overloaded and portions of their cargo fall onto the road these are run over by other sand haulers and other vehicles. This turns the same into dust particles.

The residents further claim that mud stuck on the quarry trucks’ wheels are carried to the road and left there adding to the dust when these dry up. They said the dust or mud on the road, depending on the weather, could have caused the prevalence of airborne diseases that are stalking children in the barangay.

When asked whether they have raised their complaints to the barangay council they said they did. However, they doubt if the council can act on it fairly claiming that the barangay captain is allegedly one of the many quarry operators in the area.

A related interview conducted by the same television news crew with the spokesman of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) revealed that the agency has an existing policy governing use of roads by vehicles with cargoes like sand, gravel and boulders. It also has rules to be followed by drivers of vehicles that dirty its wheels like those going out from quarry areas before they can go back to the main highway.

Supposedly, quarry operators must provide a wash area for drivers and helpers to clean their wheels of mud prior to getting back to the main road.

In fact from our personal knowledge, cargoes like sand and gravel or stone boulders must be covered with canvass to ensure that these do not fall off the hauler trucks onto the road and put other vehicles and human users at risk. Unfortunately, in the many occasions that we happened to follow haulers of quarry materials, we have observed that the cargo is not covered, or if it is, usually it is recklessly done.

To get away with the risk we had, at one time, we did a hazardous overtaking in a narrow road after sensing that the hauler driver was kind of teasing us by occupying the middle portion of the barangay road. Later, we were informed that a tricycle that was also following close the quarry truck got hit by a falling stone. Good thing no one was hurt; it was only the front portion of the pedicab that got badly dented.

We believe that this issue complained against by Waan residents should prod authorities to take a hard look at how effectively the regulations on this matter be implemented. Road users, especially those vehicles with potentially risky cargoes, must be compelled to religiously comply with those particular government road policies. From where we are perched we have observed that regulations on this aspect are taken for granted or totally ignored. No, the neglect and the taking for granted are not only done by the road users concerned. These are also practiced by people in government agencies tasked to implement such government regulations.

Meanwhile, we normally make a lot of protestations. We complain of delays in the delivery of social services. We demand early completion of infrastructure projects. And yes, one of the projects that is creating a lot of noise from the affected residents is the expansion and concreting of the road from Catalunan Grande to Tacunan passing through sitio San Pedro exiting at the Tacunan National High School. The road has been closed for some time already except for motorbikes.

The residents of Tacunan, specifically those along the closed road, are complaining about the inconvenience the closure has created for them. They have to do double or even triple rides if they go to downtown Davao City.And that would be more expensive for them.

But had they not voiced out their complaints they would not have known that the reason of the delay is the need to transfer the water pipes that will be affected by the concreting of the road. And as explained by the DPWH, moving the water line even by a mere meter from its present location would entail more inconvenience for them. Imagine losing water supply for days or even weeks while the water firm will be working on a temporary by-pass pipe!

Indeed, if we keep our complaints in silence these could consume us.

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