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ROUGH CUTS | A crisis is looming in our midst


We were absent again on this page yesterday. We apologize to our readers who have been religiously following up our column even if at times they do not agree with our views.

Last Sunday we had some relatives from General Santos City who came over to the house claiming they do a side trip since they were in Davao City for some other purpose during the week-end. They told us they took the occasion to pay us a visit after learning from Davao City-based kin that we underwent an operation early last month. They arrived at the house at the time that we normally face our computer to write our column, and we just have to attend to them since they seldom come to visit us and hardly had the chance of going to their place in the past as well.

And we had a great time together reminiscing about our very limited shared past and talking of an unlikely collaboration for the future since we know that we are already past our prime. 


In Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro Provinces including its component cities of Tagum and the Island Garden of Samal the residents’ outcry is loudest against what they claim to be the very poor service of their electricity distributor – the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative or NORDECO.

According to the complaining residents, the provinces could not achieve their full economic potential because many interested big-time investors are afraid to gamble their money in the provinces where there is no certainty as to the quality of the power supply that is needed to run their operation.

In the most promising of places in Davao del Norte – the Island City of Samal – businessmen sinking their money on tourism-related businesses are continuously getting the scare of their lives because of the possibility that they will have a hard time getting the ideal return on investments (ROI) because of the daily power outages that sometime happen as many as three times and lasting to from 3 t0 4 hours.

And if the establishment owners want to have a continuing power within their compound they have to procure and operate their own generators which, admittedly, are costly addition to their capital.

The same is true in Tagum City where the seat of the provincial government is based. Both the Province and the City of Tagum appear helpless at this point in time. Despite the people’s clamor and the local government officials’ desire to have a better power service, they are helpless for the simple reason that the NORDECO franchise is still in effect and their efforts to have it terminated earlier is meeting the strongest opposition from the officials of the power cooperative. And seemingly, they have Congress at their back – at least for the time being.

Meanwhile, in Davao City, in Panabo City and three other municipalities in Davao del Norte that chose to be served by the Davao City-based electric distribution company Davao Light during a referendum in the late 70s people and business investors can afford to be complacent considering that the power firm is always one or two steps ahead in responding to the growth requirements of its franchise areas.

So many outsiders of the Davao Light franchise, more specifically of Davao City, could probably be thinking that the place is not experiencing any problem of any sort as far as services of existing utility companies.

On that aspect we can say they are wrong. All those believers of a non-problematic Davao City utility service users have to do is to scroll their mobile phones on a daily basis. And for certain they can see and read with silent rage as many as from ten to twenty advisories of water service interruptions in various parts in the entire three city districts.

Lately, the water service outages have become so prevalent that the water supplier agency has already resorted to  making the interruptions “rotational” in some areas. For example, in the barangay where we currently live since the onset of the pandemic, water service outages have occurred. Per the agency’s advisory our barangay’s schedule for water availability is during day time. But what is happening is that water comes out in our faucets starting late during the night and lost again by as early as 9 in the morning. Yet, our place is not even far from the water source at Calinan Riverside – barely 12 kilometers away.

But most of those complaining of water service outrages and even the lack of supply are consumers in communities of the second district – the city’s north sector. Even communities surrounding the Dumoy aquifer, the top source of Davao City’s potable water, are not also immune to water service interruptions.

From the frequency of the water service outages happening and the number of areas affected, who would not think that there is a looming water crisis in the city? Maybe only the naïve will not.


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