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ROUGH CUTS | Solution to problems comes in many ways

Vic N. Sumalinog

LAST Saturday we received an email from a certain Tom Lasam, our reader we presume. He was sharing his idea on how the government can possibly solve the burgeoning traffic gridlock in Davao City’s main arteries coming in and going out.

Tom sees the operation of commuter trains is the best measure to arrest the bedeviling vehicular traffic in the city’s main entries and other lateral roads these days. He also mentioned a surefire solution to the very expensive way of moving goods and people in the whole of Mindanao especially agricultural products coming or going to the island’s major trading and business centers. 

Mr. Tom Lasam believes that only the realization of a Philippine National Railway (PNR) type of train system in Mindanao connecting the major areas will facilitate not only transport of goods and other articles of commerce but of people as well at a much lower cost and convenient way.

We agree fully with Tom on his propositions. But even as the Mindanao Railway System is now on its supposed initial stage of implementation that covers the route from Tagum City via Davao City to Digos City in Davao del Sur, we heard that until now the project really has not taken off. There is no sign that a clearing has already started for the laying of the first few rails. We also learned earlier that the project is beset with serious problems on right of way acquisition. 

Well, how could it not be when the planners with their hired consultants to conduct the project feasibility study did not have comprehensive consultations with the most affected of stakeholders. Even in determining the railway route they did it on aerial survey only. In fact they should have conducted a “walk through” of the project route so they will know exactly where this is. The scheme would have allowed them to know the possible physical obstacles along the way. But no, probably the consultants think that the whole of the island is plain and that everyone will be willing to part with their property or properties because it is a very important government project.  

Now the administration of Davaoeno President Rodrigo R. Duterte is nearing its exit. The last six years were considered by many Mindanaoans as the golden opportunity for the realization of their dream. But to date it is still as nebulous as it was several decades ago.

However, it may be worth reminding my cyber friend Tom that there is always a saying we can run to when we start doubting that our expectation would be met – “Hope springs eternal.”


Talking of the daily traffic gridlock in Davao City despite the limitation of people movement because of the raging pandemic, this is how we propose to do away with it at hardly any cost for government and with very few, or none at all, if any of our leaders, incumbents or forthcoming, will care to push it.

We would go for the recommendation of world-famous urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox to build more cities if we have to disperse development of the Philippines.

Yes, why not create another city from the one Davao City today. It is one strategy where no public utility drivers will be displaced and no operators deprived of their rights to do transport business. Should a new city be created, it follows that new routes will be established from certain areas to the new city centers thus diffusing the present traffic congestion. After all, is not it that today all roads lead to the current business and industrial centers in Davao where the government offices, the private corporation headquarters, the trading establishments and other sources of livelihood are located? Therefore, from as early as 6 in the morning to as late as 8 or 9 in the evening, vehicles will be converging towards the city proper to deliver workers, people with transactions in government and other offices, delivering articles of commerce and vice versa. The latter is the one creating the gridlock in the afternoon until evening.

And the creation of new routes is not even mandated which often creates disgruntlement of the affected sectors. It comes as a consequence of the opening of new opportunities as well as relocations of businesses and activities that accrue to the new local government unit.     However, the likelihood that any politician will ever push for it is nil. We have yet to hear or see leaders who are willing to sacrifice diminishing his political turf even if it is for the good of the majority of his or her constituents.

The creation of another LGU in Davao City will even impact on the long-desired real and ideal kind of peace and order or call it “order and peace.” Why? Isn’t bringing government services closer to the people a strong deterrent for their being vulnerable to the enticements of some alien ideology or committing crimes just to survive the harshness in life? Will not a smaller area for law enforcement implementation enhances the people’s trust in their policemen since they can be more visible in the community?

Will any of our leaders, and those aspiring to be in the future,  ever pick up the challenge?




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