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ROUGH CUTS | A solution and a potential problem

The proposal to operate a water taxi serving routes within Davao City and between Davao City and Lupon, Davao Oriental will surely help in alleviating the growing traffic congestion in Davao City.

Passengers from the south and north of the city will have another mode of travel to choose from. But the Lupon-Davao City-Lupon route will unlikely make a dent on the current traffic situation in the city.

But will such transport system be patronized by commuters especially those in Davao City only? There may be two things that many commuters will be taking into serious consideration when deciding to take the water taxi.

First and foremost is the weather condition of the day they intend to travel using the water craft. And second, the very likely increase in the budget they need in taking the water taxi compared to when they take the public utility jeep or buses.

As to the weather condition, passengers who decide taking the water taxi could easily opt to board the land transportation in just any sign of water disturbance due to strong winds and rains.

On the possible increase in commuters’ travelling expenses, it really is bound to happen. Why, because all possible docking ports earlier identified as disclosed by Councilor Conde Baluran, are way far from possible destinations like offices or work places, malls and even venues of entertainments.

In other words, the commuters would probably be taking not just one ride but two or even three before reaching the place they would want to go. And these do not even include the risks along the way.

And even assuming that many will decide to take the water taxi, will not the land-based utility vehicles like jeeps, buses and taxis just be shifting the traffic congestion to the routes leading to the water taxi ports?

If this will be the case once the water transport mode starts operating, then such is only a palliative solution that will surely create another traffic problem.

We can only hope that in the process of considering the proposal coming from a corporate shipping firm the City Council Committee handling transportation concerns should conduct several exhaustive public hearings that will draw participation from all stakeholders concerned.


Starting last Tuesday oil companies all over the country implemented increases in their products to as high as P1.30 per liter. The price hikes were made effective without a whimper oor token opposition from the government. The oil users could only do the best they can – carry placards signifying their opposition, but to no avail.

Late last week the Senate approved on third reading a bill granting an across the board salary increase of P100 per day to workers in private companies. Exempted from the proposed mandatory wage hike are those firms with ten or less workers. May be the senators are thinking the workers in those excluded firms eat only once or twice a day, so they may not be covered in the hike.

But we have no idea why the Regional Wage Board in the Davao Region seems to preempt the possible passage of the law that will govern the P100 increase in the daily minimum wage. Early this week the Board announces that it is ordering private companies in Region XI to give their minimum wage workers an increase of P38 a day. But it will be given in two tranches. The first tranche of P19 will take effect on March 6, 2024. The second P19 of the P38 daily wage hike will start on September 1, 2024.

As soon as the Regional Tripartite Wage board announced the P38 increase in the minimum wage of workers in industrial, commercial, retail/services from the current rate P443, and agricultural workers of P438, the Region’s labor sector immediately shouted in their shrillest voices that the P38 daily wage increase is far from enough.

Of course we can only contribute our own small voice of objecting through this piece. But will the board ever hear and reconsider what it has already decided?

And just like in the past wage hikes initiated by the RTWPB how many of the private companies will ever comply to the fullest of the wage hike order? If they do, a good number of their employees will be sacrificed covertly.

As usual the Department of Labor is “Nagmata lang ug buntag,” so they say in Cebuano quite sarcastically.


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