Editorial: Test case

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SANITATION is a problem, three children already died, and the schools are already complaining about misuse of the facilities and things inside the schoolrooms.

The problem about the almost 3,000 families in evacuation centers after fire razed their homes in barangays 21-C, 22-C, and 23-C is an acid test on City Hall, particularly the departments, on how fast they can return the families to the area so that homes can be rebuilt.

The families were accommodates in the seven evacuation centers since April 5. The month ends today. No matter how small one’s house is, it will never ne as uncomfortable as living in an evacuation center. Add the fact that many of these people earn from doing something at home and in their communities – may it be tending to a sari-sari store or a carinderia, cooking merienda to be sold in neighboring communities, and similar micro-enterprises that contribute to the family’s budget. They cannot do that in an evacuation center. This can add up to maybe half or more than half of the family’s budget frozen while they wait for the time when they will be allowed to build back.


The city government says it will take five months. We say, it shouldn’t. There are faster ways of doing this for as long as we remove all those who say it can’t be done in less time. Efficiency and speed are the key words here.

The challenge is for the City Social Services and Development Office to ensure that the lists are accurate and distribution of relief goods and other services are delivered regularly.

The challenge is for the City health Office to keep in check the diseases the evacuees, especially the children, are showing signs of, as well as, to ensure that preventive measures are set in place.

The challenge is for the City Engineer’s Office to subdivide the area, including amenities for roads faster than they are used to, and to set up the drainage even without having to wait for contracts to be bidded and signed. For one, this is one job that does not require a contractor, the city has enough engineers and contractual workers to do the ground work. That shouldn’t be very difficult for them.

Efficiency - that is what is required of all these offices and their staff. This is not about giving people temporary homes, this is about being able to allow these people to build back their homes in the shortest possible time.

This is the time to prove that the Davao City government is indeed a cut above the rest in delivering the services required of them, especially in emergencies. This is the time to prove that they do not need to be whipped in shape by the mayor just to do their work fast with efficiency.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 30, 2014.


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