NOW DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has realized there is a need to mandate an alternate work schedule for workers at this time of the resurgence of the CoViD 19 infection in the country.
We have no doubt that this scheme can be easily implemented in government offices especially those under the local government.
But this might be a little cumbersome for private companies although not necessarily undoable. But this must be done and has to be strictly carried out because it is a must if we have to arrest the steep climb in the figures of new infections.
The lady mayor has also suspended the use of the Food and Medicine Pass in determining schedules of people in Davao City to be able to go out using the last digit of the Pass number. Instead, the mayor is giving premium to the QR Code that the city has issued to residents that they are now using in going inside grocery stores, supermarkets, public markets, and other establishments.
We believe this one is a decision by the mayor which is a little bit off if we have to consider the possibility that the more people converging in places above-mentioned the more transmission of the virus becomes faster. Yes, taking away the restriction of anyone from entering those places or establishment any day of the week will surely result in more people inside thus helping hasten transmission of the virus.
Our take on this is that the use of the FM Pass should not have been suspended.
So Mt. Apo has been brewing the past few days? No, not the volcano that we are talking about. It is the people residing in that upland community, the Manobo tribesmen who are claiming some 701 hectares within the area of development by the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) of the Lopez Group, which is operating the Mt. Apo Geothermal Plant, are under their so-called ancestral domain.
We are not doubting the rights of the natives over the area concerned. We are, however, suspecting that the supposed share of the indigenous residents or their barangays from the income of the geothermal plant operation is just being gobbled up by some greedy individuals running the so-called organization of barangay beneficiaries.
Why has this not been looked into by the National Commission of the Indigenous People? Why are they not aware of the seeming “heist” of the money intended for the development of the barangays covered by the EDC operation? Easily, the NCIP could have monitored the mess if it was sincere in its responsibility of ensuring the welfare of our indigenous brothers high up there. Imagine how many years have passed since the geothermal plant started making money from the steam down under Mt. Apo?
Then came the anger of the natives. They were forced to barricade the road that the workers and equipment of EDC use in going to the area of their operation. And it was only then that the problem was brought out to the surface. Good thing that some cooler heads are able to settle the row at least temporarily. And given the length of time since the start of the geothermal plant operation, the money accumulated could have been so much already, and had it been used for projects in that hinterland area, it could have already transformed the lives of the natives into something more humane.
We were told that the bill in Congress seeking to create a Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA) has now been approved on its second reading. The bill is primarily sponsored by Congressman Isidro Ungab of the city’s third congressional district. This is one welcome development and an indication that indeed the lawmaker from our very own district is not sleeping on the job that he was elected by his constituents for.
But what areas will comprise the Metropolitan Davao? Will it be composed of the Cities of Davao, Panabo, Samal, and the towns of Sta. Cruz and the City of Digos? Or will it also include the towns of Carmen, Dujali, and Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte, as well as Tagum City?
From our perspective, the intention of the creation of the Authority is to harmonize all development endeavors in areas under its jurisdiction. Meaning, whatever development projects introduced to any one of the areas under the authority’s jurisdiction must be complementary with projects that are either ongoing or slated for implementation in the contiguous places.
We hope that this will be so. Otherwise, the MDDA will just be another wasted effort and additional bureaucracy to contend with even as it could add to the overhead in government operation with so many people added to the payroll for government workers.
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