Never mind

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Monday, June 16, 2014

DANCING traffic enforcers? Yeah, let's. Has to be better than implementing the city's traffic regulations.

Look at that extra-wide bit of sidewalk opposite Bajada SSS. PUV drivers - Davao's supposedly professional drivers - routinely use the sidewalk as a third lane, bypassing traffic stuck at the lights. There's sometimes an enforcer on duty around here, usually on the opposite side of the road attending to the J. P. laurel/Palm Drive crossing, but why doesn't he collar a few of these morons, take them off the road?

Oooh, can't do that, just because he's breaking the law, you know, we can't deprive a driver of his livelihood.


I shop at the grocery there and sometimes point out to PUV drivers that the sidewalk is for pedestrians, not for jeepneys, an observation which usually receives a blank look or a sharp-eyed passenger pointing out that I'm a foreigner and therefore shouldn't be concerning myself with such things. Driving on the sidewalk is WRONG. Driving on the sidewalk is AGAINST THE LAW but hey, never mind, this is Davao, the traffic enforcer's probably up at the next junction doing a jig in the
middle of the road.

Wednesday's front page was full of this taxi driver accused of doping and robbing a passenger before tossing him senseless out on the verge. I don't subscribe to Facebook or Twitter so I'm not privy to the no-doubt masses of rumor, misinformation and third-hand hearsay there but how, exactly, does a cabby knock out a passenger? A quick jab with a syringe? Here, try one of these knock-out drops. An aerosol spray? Didn't the passenger notice the cabby strapping on a gasmask?

The driver, apparently, has been cabbying for 19 years. Only now does he go for a heist with a flight bag of dirty underwear as his haul? It all sound highly unlikely to me and, anyway, has the missing gear been found in the cabby's possession? Or the cab headlining been swabbed for knock-out aerosol?

Another thing: It's good to see the police apprehending the bad guys but why are the monetary hand-outs so top heavy? P50, 000 and P30, 000 for the bosses and only P10, 000 for some of the lower ranks? I'll wager it was they who did the grunt work. Wouldn't it have been fairer and more encouraging to hand out equal amounts to all ranks or, failing that and if such a thing exists, donating the total amount to a police benevolent fund?

Also on Wednesday I couldn't help noticing the news that a housing developer is investing P2 billion in a 48 hectare mixed housing project at Mandug. The national government meanwhile is investing nothing in the local road infrastructure; an infrastructure which at the moment is a single two-lane road, much of it falling apart. Good luck to the developers in selling their lots - much of them will be
bought, I imagine by absentee speculators - but the question remains - just how will all these new and proud house owners travel in and out the 15 or so kilometers to town? Oh, wait. I forgot - Davao's preferred mass transit system, the tricycle.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 16, 2014.


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