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ROUGH CUTS | This project should have been the priority

Vic N. Sumalinog

BY now P/Brig. General Michael John Dubria, former Regional Director of PRO 12, may already be reporting to his job at Camp Crame as Chief of the Directorate for Intelligence of the Philippine National Police (PNP). However, his stint in PNP Region XII office left indelible achievements that could probably serve as benchmark for other police regions with similar peace and order as well as economic conditions.

     Not only did P/BGen.’s Dubria’s stint leave a noticeable drop in crime rate in the entire police jurisdiction it also restored substantially the confidence of the people in their policemen. On the other hand, Dubria made a mark in the improvement of the facilities of the PNP 12 Headquarters in General Santos City. During his term Dubria renovated the once near decripit  police headquarters grandstand to what is now a modern arena for big events that the regional office may be conducting.

     His successor P/Brig. General Alexander Tagum has indeed a big shoe to fill. 


     The Davao City Housing Unit of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) is now busy in its assigned responsibility to help in the conduct of a Feasibility Study for the implementation of the city’s Flood Control and Drainage system. The responsibility of the said office is to craft a Resettlement Action Plan which is a major part of the entire project. The feasibility study, according to our sources, is assisted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the same agency that undertook the first two feasibility studies for the Davao Mainland-Samal Island bridge project the results of which was later set aside to give way to a Hongkong-based consulting company which study ended up the one being used by the government.  The project though, has until now remained unimplemented because of some strong opposition from some affected sectors.

     Honestly, we believe that the Flood Control and Drainage Project should have been the priority of the local and national governments as far as the problems bedeviling Davao City these days are concerned. Many will most likely disagree with us if we would say that there are two major problems that Davao City is now facing. These are the burgeoning traffic situation and the regular inundation or flooding of the city’s urban plains including roads and other low-lying urban areas. The both of these are easily anticipatable as these are outcomes of Davao’s rapid urbanization.

     Unfortunately, this is not what the leaders of the city are focused on. Rather, they consider the traffic situation as the worst and more immediate to be addressed.  How they arrived at that priority we have no idea. But certainly, a growing traffic like that of Metro Manila or Cebu City is something people can live with even for a longer period of time.  While it is true that the monstrous traffic’s impact on the economy is humongous still life goes on among people. Yes, traffic could make our days much longer and many hours on the road make us less productive. But compared to floods the impact to both human lives and the economy is immediately seen and felt.  Not only that floods cause cessation of operation of industries and businesses the rehabilitation of the damages that floods bring requires extreme immediacy and of course, resources.

     So, in our view, had the local leaders and planning bodies figured out these scenarios in their minds they could have temporarily set aside such projects as the Mindanao Railway Phase I, the by-pass road from Panabo City to Sirawan in Toril with twin tunnel component, and even the ongoing Davao City Coastal Highway.

     It could not be denied that the flooding problem of Davao City has been prevalent as early in the late 1970s. But over the last fifteen years floods have exacted grave damage to the population and even on government infrastructures. And those floods routinely and even sometimes simultaneously, happened in the city’s three major river basins – the Davao River, the Matina Pangi, and Talomo River Basins. Also, several low-lying yet heavily populated and business establishment-occupied areas in the city’s downtown have suddenly become catch basins for rampaging rainwaters from the already bald highlands and subdivision-studded upper grounds. The latest of these major floods to hit the city were the roof-level deep flood water that submerged La Verna Hills subdivision and other Buhangin residential communities; and last week’s flood coming from Davao River that inundated the Jade Valley and residential enclaves along that river.

     Perhaps the local leaders may already have realized that it has become doubly expensive to undertake stop-gap measures in addressing the flooding problem, and getting more expensive in rehabilitating the same both for the city and the people, they might have finally realized that a major flood mitigation project as well as an effective drainage system are already the last resort to save the city from becoming the next water world. The main components of the project study include River Dredging, Cut-off works and Retarding pond.

     We can only hope that the feasibility study will really end up an accomplished infrastructure project and not just another hard-bound sheet of paper that will be thrown down an overflowing drain or in the whirling fast-rising water level of the city’s major waterways.



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