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Rough Cuts: A fate that should be avoided

Another most awaited infrastructure project in Davao City will be implemented starting next month (April). That is, if pronouncements by Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio is made good.

And we are talking of the bypass road that will stretch from Toril in the city’s south to Lasang in the north. It will have a tunnel portion bored underneath the mountain of Magtuod with ingress and egress both at the Tigatto side and Matina Pangi (or is it Matina Biao?).

There is some degree of assurance that the project will push through. This is because this is assisted by the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA.

The bypass road project and the city’s coastal highway which may be completed possibly by next year, will certainly address to a large extent the burgeoning vehicular traffic situation in this fast developing southern metropolis.

But some residents of the city are apprehensive about the possibility that this project will also suffer the fate of the Mindanao Railway system the Phase 1 of which could not even take off. It has been dogged with right-of-way problems. In fact some of those opposing the proposed railway track are already threatening to go to court to seek redress of their grievances. These oppositionist property owners are claiming that there was no consultation in the determination of the railway track site.

And since the bypass road will be built parallel to the railway there is possibility that privately owned properties will also be affected as these are in the case of the railway track route.

In other words, if the determination of the specific route of the road construction was done the way it was in the railway project, then a controversy similar to that of the latter project is likely to surface. And that would mean the April 2019 commencement of the bypass road project could possibly be derailed.

We are hoping that the proponents of the bypass road project are able to anticipate this problem and have already advanced its solution before it could start derailing an all too important infrastructure for Davao’s march towards socio-economic development.

As the saying goes, “Strike the iron while it is hot.” Paraphrased, we mean the city administration has to go for it fast while the President is still Davaoeno Rodrigo Roa Duterte, long-time former city mayor.

We can already imagine the impact of the bypass road project  on the city’s most dreaded problem — the gargantuan traffic brought about by its rapid urbanization.

Who knows, the city may not need its segment of the Mindanao Railway system in the immediate term.

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We have yet to hear reports of senatorial candidates, whether in groups or individuals, having gone to the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi in the south to campaign, Some candidates though have gone there not for the sole purpose of campaigning but only to be visible to the voters of the mentioned provinces by joining the President’s party when he goes there. Our hunch is that the aspirants for the Senate feel more secure with the security accorded the President when he visits those areas.

Of course it is common knowledge that none of the candidates or the parties they belong has announced schedules of any campaign sojourn to the areas. And we know the real reason is concern of their personal safety and security.

But are they not offering themselves to serve the Filipino people? Are not Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi three of the Philippine Provinces therefore its residents are Filipinos? Filipinos that the candidates want to serve?

So, why are they hesitant to face a good number of people they intend to serve? Why are they ignoring the Yakans of Basilan and the Tausugs of Sulu and Tawi-tawi? Or, are they already considering these provinces not part of the country that there is no need for them to go there and campaign for their candidacy?

This attitude of past, present and aspiring political leaders of the country is without doubt, the leading reason of the alienation of most, if not all, people in the said provinces from the central government.

So, can the people in these places be blamed if they become vulnerable to the influence of ideological and religious extremism?

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