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ROUGH CUTS |  What was that for, photo op?

        

Vic N. Sumalinog

EARLY this week while we were in our farm residence in Barangay Talandang in Tugbok district we witnessed an unfolding incident that we feel would be a welcome one.

We saw a police vehicle passing by which was later parked in front of the barangay hall. Immediately some personnel on board got out of the vehicle and took with them what appeared to be a tarpaulin. In time the personnel displayed the tarp with markings indicating that a checkpoint was being set up in that part of the barangay road.

The vehicle moved and proceeded to the nearest crossing where it maneuvered position towards the highway in Tugbok. In less than ten minutes the vehicle moved and stopped by the area where the tarpaulin was displayed and was photographed. The tarpaulin was later folded and brought back to the police vehicle which left minutes later.

     Many motorists who were already starting to fall in line thinking that there will be inspection and checking of whatever requirements needed to be allowed to pass through were wondering what was happening. Was the supposed setting up of the checkpoint a “photo op” only to prove compliance of certain orders from higher authorities?

Was it some kind of a “documentation” of certain activities intended to satisfy the authorities who are hard up in getting the various health protocols followed not only by the population but by the ones who are supposed to implement the same? 

     What really was that for? We are only asking hoping that we can get some credible answers. If we can’t get any, then we should not be surprised why the new CoViD 19 cases in Davao City are rising quite steeply these days.

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     Some public utility companies are not quite consistent in the implementation of its policies. One is the Davao City Water District (DCWD).

     We were once a victim of this non-consistency over a year back. And lately, our nephew was also a victim. In our case we completed the submission of documentary requirements. When the DCWD inspector came to inspect our installation for the location of the water meter we were told that it should be placed in an area where more than one meter can be installed without the hassle of the other applicants getting permission from landowners to have their water meters installed and their pipes pass through. We pleaded for consideration because we knew then that our house is far from the nearest neighbor compared to that of the other DCWD installed meter facilities.

But still our request was denied because it is the “company policy.” So we obliged and add another two 6-meter length of GI pipes to meet the requirement. Finally it was approved in the subsequent inspection. But when the installation time came, the installers instead told us they have to move the meter installation facility back to the original location where we first had it done. The reason, they told us, is that it is easier for them to dig a canal in the so-called “seismic gap” between slabs of the concreted road with which to have their pipe cross towards the side where our installation was located. The DCWD main pipe is located on the other side of the road.

     Of course we agreed because it was what we originally wanted for convenience. But we had already spent the cost of the additional two GI pipe lengths and other accessories, and a day’s work of a plumber who we had to contract on a “pakyaw” basis.

     In other words, the “policy” that was deliberated upon by the firm’s board of directors, and religiously required for compliance by the inspectors, was disregarded by some of the company’s installation team. (Or, were they contractors?)

     Now in the case of our nephew whose application is in the name of her wife, one Myrna A. Anasco, one of the documents required was a photocopy of the title of the land where the installation is to be made and where the line is to pass towards the house of the applicant. 

     Earlier, a younger brother of this nephew of ours also applied using the same documentary requirement. Since the property’s extrajudicial partition has not yet been completed, the one processing our other nephew’s application only required an affidavit of the mother of that younger nephew that she is one of the legal heirs of the land owner.

Now here is this application of the older brother of the nephew with an approved application. The same title of the property was photocopied and submitted. This time however, the customer service rep of the DCWD is asking for another document to have the application approved. Yet, the two nephews of ours who are brothers have their house built less than a hundred meters apart on the same property of their deceased grandparents.

      Considering the distance of their place, the difficulty and expenses in travelling to the downtown offices of the water firm because of the restrictions under the pandemic, and of missing a day’s work as farm workers which means a meal less on the table, applicant can only wish she can get the same treatment as that of her brother-in-law, given that they are on their houses are located on the same property.

      Since the applicant sought out our assistance hoping that we could help, we called an official of DCWD who we think is our friend. We inquired what exactly is the company’s policy on this aspect. We did not ask that this official “overrule” a policy implemented by their company’s customer service employee as what he apparently implied in the message her sent us through Messenger. 

     Our message here is actually very simple, that there was inconsistency in the application of the policy. We believe that what was done on the application of our other nephew who is a younger brother of the older nephew should have been applied on the application of the latter’s wife.

     For now, what we can be certain about consistency by DCWD is its almost daily 4-hour water interruption in the Catalunan Grande areas since over a year ago. And the reason given is also consistent. Improvement works are being done. How long will it take to complete? We have no idea. And the water firm may not also have an idea when.

                                                                                

                                                              

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