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ROUGH CUTS | One other cause of traffic

This paper’s headline in its February 20, 2024 issue: “Trust in the system”

It says that in a survey conducted, 7 in every 10 Davaoenos believe their barangays are ready for any calamity to happen. This means those who believe in such preparedness of the barangays think that systems are in place for fast, easy and safe evacuation, and that the same systems allow for fast response by the authorities including availability of assistance needed for the barangays and the people affected.
Such belief is indeed good news. It will also give assurance that the local government of Davao City is one, two, or even three steps ahead in the mechanism needed to mitigate the impact of calamities.

But as far as we have personally observed in the many times that we visited both urban and rural barangays in the city, we have noted that the villages have no real evacuation centers that are solely devoted for the purpose.

What we noted and were informed of is that barangay officials either use covered courts or public school buildings as evacuation centers during calamities such as floods and landslides. And making it worse is that most, if not all covered courts are built in the compounds of barangay centers normally located in the central districts of villages mostly in the plains.

This also means that the immediate evacuation centers are also vulnerable to floods and even landslides as well. And “rubbing salt to the wound” most of these covered courts do not even have water supply, comfort rooms and other amenities for comfort.

On the other hand, the most convenient structures for evacuation purposes are public school buildings, While classrooms can offer better amenities like water, light and comfort rooms even on a limited accommodation capability, the use of these facilities as evacuation centers disrupts another important aspect of government service – the effective delivery of basic education.

Yes, when calamities strike during school days and it will take much longer time for government to make the affected areas worth living again, naturally classes will have to be temporarily suspended. Therefore, the mandated number of days that students should be inside classrooms for their class lessons will be reduced to maximum.

And considering that school children’s families are among those most likely also affected by disasters that happen, the likelihood is that any other option of teaching such as doing it on-line or through modules may not be possible.

Anyhow, we just hope that the perception of the 7 in every ten Davaoenos that city barangays are prepared for any disaster that will strike in the area, is correct. It would be frustrating for them to find out that they are drawn into false expectation when the dreaded times come.


We were in downtown Davao City last Monday for some important appointments. We noted that there was no significant reduction in the volume of vehicles converging on MacArthur Highway from crossing Balusong down to the junction of Magallanes st. Vehicles were more dense at the Ateneo High School stretch. And this traffic scene still continues despite the opening of Phase 1 of the Davao City Coastal Highway stretching from Bago Aplaya up to the tip of Tulip drive at Times Beach.

What can possibly solve this road mess in the city? And when can this possibly happen? Many are looking forward to the completion of the Coastal Road. Others are more optimistic on the opening of the by-pass road that has a tunnel component in it.

These two infrastructure projects, without doubt, could ease traffic congestion a lot. But could it be in the long term?

We are raising this question because we see other less noticeable reason why the volume of vehicles plying the city roads is increasing on the double. We are certain that we are not the only ones who have observed the growth of the importation of used cars and trucks from Japan, South Korea and China these days. And the influx is not limited to vehicles only. Most of the importation firms are owned by the Japanese, South Koreans and Chinese who are now also in the city.

Travelers going to Tagum in the north and to Digos City in the south can easily see fenced compounds where imported used light and heavy vehicles are displayed. And their acquisitions are on much easy terms. The traders have their own tie-up with financing institutions run by locals.

So, should Davoenos be surprised if the roads are now littered with all kinds of vehicles adding up to the traffic congestion?

While there is freedom of enterprise, the government is also mandated to take care of the interest of the general public including regulating businesses that could adversely affect the people’s freedom of easy movement – heavy traffic on the roads.



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