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ROUGH CUTS | Good ideas thrown down the drain

We are now entering the third month of the usual spawning season for fishes – the months of June, July and August of each year.
Whatever happened to the ban against subsistence fishing within certain radius of the gulf of Davao? The ban, as provided for in Joint Administrative Order No. 2 of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), prohibits fishing during the spawning months. According to the Joint Administrative Order the prohibition aims to conserve the small pelagic fishes in the waters of Davao Gulf.
With the support of the local governments having coastlines in the gulf it is likely that the ban could have been successfully implemented. Thus, the conservation of the fish species that are the primary target of the joint order will be assured.
However, we would like to throw this question to the DA and the DILG: If the conservation of the pelagic fishes is assured with the successful implementation of the fishing ban, how about the preservation of the lives of the families of the subsistence fishermen?
Have the DA and the DILG come up with alternative livelihood programs for the fishermen who are affected by the 3 months ban?
Can these two agencies be honest enough to tell the public what are the alternative livelihoods that they have put in place to tie the fishermen over while the ban is in effect?
What good is conserving the pelagic fishes if in the process the measure kills the fishermen of hunger? Or, are these two government agencies forcing the small fisher folks to play the “hunger game”?
Without alternative livelihood programs subsistence fishermen these days could really be dying of hunger with the aggravation of their situation by the onslaught of the deadly coronavirus disease (CoViD 19) which is restricting every person’s movement including doing work that helps feed families.
A study conducted a few years back by some Dutch students in Davao reveals that the city needs at least some 30 large people’s parks if only to control flooding here. The Dutch students were from the University of Van Hall Larenstein in the Netherlands. Their study on Davao City was focused on the result of flooding in the area and the changing rainfall patterns over the uplands and the lowlands as coordinated with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST XI.
If the result of the study was accurate, or at least proximate, it means the city still needs to build some 26 additional parks. Right now we only have four parks in the city’s downtown area. These are the roughly 6-hectare people’s park along Palma Gil st., the Magsaysay Park at Sta. Ana district, and the Rizal and Osmena Parks at the vicinity of the Davao City Hall and the Sangguniang Panlungsod buildings. And if the city decides to build the additional parks, where will these be located? Does the city still have remaining public properties that can be developed into parks?
For now the areas most suitable for parks are already invaded by thousands of informal settlers. Even the Times Beach which used to be the common man’s sea side resort is now a virtual private property with the more enterprising people allocating the area among themselves. Of course with some help from their friends at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and certain offices at the city government.
In a column item way back we tackled the Light Rail Transport (LRT) system being strongly pushed under the city’s comprehensive development plan crafted by the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) during the time of then CPDO Engr. Mario Luis Jacinto.
The LRT was also a subject in several conversations we had with the former CPDO before he took another job in the private sector. However, according to the former city planning and development officer, the proposed LRT is not the one that will be above ground. Rather, he said, the proposal is to have the system run underground through tunnels.
Our initial reaction was that it could be more expensive and will take a much longer period to complete. Just imagine digging several kilometers of underground tunnels the top of which could be commercial establishments and residential subdivisions!
Engr. Jacinto cut us short by saying that on the contrary there would be no such hassles because the construction will not be hampered by delays in acquisitions of right of ways as well as expropriations of private lands that will be included in the LRT route/s. Add the modern technology, an underground LRT is the best option, according to the former CPDO of Davao City.
The questions that we subsequently asked Engr. Jacinto then were: Do we have the volume of LRT passengers that can sustain its operation without seeking financial subsidy from the national government, or even from the city?
Will the riding public be ready to pay the fare rate that is the true cost of taking the LRT without government subsidy?
Now we feel we have to change the question after a menagerie of projects to address the burgeoning traffic situation in Davao City seems to worsen by the days.
Our questions now are: Where has the planned LRT project for the city gone? Are the Coastal Highway, the JICA-studied by-pass road, and the Rapid Bus Transport System the substitute projects?
Indeed with the changing of guards in governance even at the local level good and viable ideas can be thrown down the drain.

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