Thus spake Rody

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Monday, May 26, 2014

AT LAST. Someone with a bit of clout, Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte has stated the obvious that many of us have been thinking, writing and shouting about for years -- that Davao's infrastructure hasn't kept up with development.

I'd call a spade a spade, that infrastructure has been comatose for years and that the city's rubber-stamped development is out of control. Naturally, as it was the mayor who spake, we'll see our councilors and agency heads mouthing that they couldn't agree more and something must be done about it but never fear, only for six or seven days, then it'll be back to glazed eyeballs focused on investment dollars, purple inkpad to hand.

Rody mentioned the city's hopelessly outdated road system trying to cope with an ever-increasing load. I don't seriously collect these tower block and condo ads but have you counted how many are going up or are about to. Avida Towers between Claveria and Reyes; the huge Davao Park District which includes multi-storey condos; the pile opposite the Bajada power plant; Vivaldi tower block behind the main post office (30+ storeys); Verdon Parc at Ecoland. They're everywhere, vast new developments each housing thousands of new residents each of whom will have a car because Davao City doesn't have a public transport system unless you count yellow sidecars bolted onto 125cc motorcycles which were never meant to haul six or eight passengers or thousands of polluting PUVs which drive any old how.


Traffic congestion? See jeepney. The city has no public multi-storey car parks, no paint to mark up pedestrian lanes and why doesn't the city introduce a byelaw restricting PUVs to the kerb side lane. No overtaking. No unloading or loading two-deep with their arses hanging into the fast lane.

Rody also mentioned the power supply or, rather, lack of supply. In Saturday's paper it was reported that Department of Energy Undersecretary Raul Aguilos said "the power supply in Mindanao from 2015 to 2020 will be enough to address the demands of Mindanaoans." I want every one of you to cut that out and tape it the wall wherever you keep the candles or flashlight batteries.

And, when Duterte speaks of infrastructure, he's not just talking about the roads or power supply. There's also, for example, Cenro's refuse collection which stumbles from bad to worse. Segregation went out the window a long time ago when we realised that no matter how carefully we separated rubbish into different sacks Cenro would just toss the whole lot onto the same ten-wheeler truck. And, while we're here, where have all the green and gray wheely-bins gone?

The basura collection point nearest Casa Covington used to boast six bins. Today there are none, the garbage men are reduced to fork and basket to gather up the mess just chucked down by the side of the road. I know that a couple of bins fell apart. I also know that the others were nicked - wheeled off by individuals to serve as their private city-paid-for dustbins. Why don't Cenro send out a motorcycle patrol to follow the ten-wheelers on their rounds - see who pushes out a green bin and then sue them for stealing city property?

And why isn't there a city ordinance which requires residents to keep their basura INSIDE an appropriate container INSIDE their compounds until the truck arrives rather than leaving their trash outside the gates in plastic bags which any wandering animal can tear apart and scatter? I, for one, am tired of cleaning the local verges of food peelings, used diapers and worse every morning courtesy of idiot neighbors who consider anywhere except their own compounds handy rubbish tips. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 27, 2014.


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