Not so liveable

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Friday, May 9, 2014

THAT cocaine; the stuff which fell out the ceiling of a reefer container last March -- has it been destroyed yet?

Errrm -- well, no. But the haul is keeping busy both the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Pdea. BOC says that they have "no lead yet on the cocaine's port of origin" while the Pdea is carrying out "qualitative and quantitative examination" of the drugs.

Sorry, but these unbidden images keep popping into my mind -- all the coke unpacked and heaped on a table just to see what P400 million looks like in powder form; patting up coke castles; mock snorting selfies using rolled-up peso bills. Never happen of course.


Seems to me that both the BOC and Pdea are practicing a variation of Parkinson's Law -- that work expands to fill the time available for its completion -- in both their instances noses to the grindstone at completely unnecessary tasks. Why is the BOC wasting time trying to sleuth down the coke's point of origin. What does it matter?

Similarly, why are the Pdea lab techies analyzing the stuff? Who cares if the bricks are this percent pure or that percent adulterated? Spending the taxpayers' money for what end? The drugs, almost literally, fell out of the sky. Accidentally. Get rid of it. The longer it's stored away or brought out for every passing VIP the greater the chance some will be mislaid, found to be missing, gosh -- where's that gone. You know how it goes.

Moving on and I did like the other Thursday's front page photo -- workmen erecting yet another blot on the skyline, a gigantic advertisement hoarding - while in the background the Bajada power plants billows a noxious yellow-brown fug into the air -- a photo I thought represented Davao pretty well.

Not so liveable these days is it? A burgeoning homeless population moved from bridge to school to park to derelict wharf and possibly into your backyard with no social housing in sight. Dirty air becoming the norm as the city dares not do away with the tens of thousands of exhaust-belching PUJs == new bodies, old engines -- and actually encourages the use of motorcycle powered tricycles as a public transport system. A pre-war road infrastructure trying to cope with 21st century traffic and failing -- the infamous Manic Manila 'go-slow' shortly to become the norm here in Davao as a major bridge closes and the school year starts.

Suburban feeder roads falling apart while someone authorizes the annual re-asphalting of roads around the City Hall and SP building. And why is the Ma-a road being asphalted? If there's money to burn, burn it where it's needed, not by unnecessarily asphalting over newly-laid and perfectly good concrete. Then there's the twice-a-day two or three-hour power brownouts or blackouts or whatever you like to call them. Let's hope we don't get a surprise call from one of those Best Cities of Asia fact-finding missions.

Sort of semi-related and here's a question that I've been itching to ask - all of these new subdivisions and malls come into being must have generated a corresponding enormous increase in realty taxes which, presumably, the city can use where it likes, so where is all this extra cash going?

Power is private. So is water. I see no real signs of improvement in the roads, no social housing, no sewage system, no mass transit, not even any white paint for pedestrian crossings so where are these billions - and it must be billions -- ending up?

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 10, 2014.


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