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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THAT’S the SideWalk Action Group (Haven't figured out the last three letters yet) formed to protest against motorists parking their vehicles on pedestrian sidewalks. We'll be protesting by parking our massed and collective feet on various bits of road to restrict traffic flow and why not? Motorists park up on sidewalks without a care in the world; knowing that the TMC or any of the five or six other 'traffic management' agencies turn a blind eye even if there's a TMC greenshirt standing a few yards away.

Take Quirino outside the Palma Gil elementary school. Moms and dads waiting to pick up their darlings routinely bump their SUVs up onto the sidewalk to wait thereby blocking the way for pedestrians. There's a TMC greenshirt on duty there helping kids to cross the street but obviously enforcing parking restrictions isn't part of his job description. Not a finger is lifted. No 'Hoy, you can't park there'. A bit further on the same side, near the Quirino/Jacinto crossing, walkers are likely to be hooted at by taxi drivers impatient to drive on the sidewalk and bypass traffic waiting at the red light. There's CCTV cameras at that junction installed, I suspect, for the amusement of the operators so as they can compile 'funniest accident' DVDs, rather than apprehend and book taxi drivers endangering pedestrians.

The other day there was an item in the 'paper telling us how Baguio City is considering pedestrianising their well-known Sessions Road. Here in Davao we haven't yet got round to pedestrianising the sidewalks.


Overseas news and Samal Island, on the heights behind Babak, has started work on a 200-foot tall set of traffic lights anticipating the construction of a Samal International Airport. Even though there's already an international airport just 4 kilometers WSW of Babak and the usual flight path is over Samal's Vanishing Island, Davao del Norte officialdom thinks it's a good idea to build another one (Yet to be named) together with that bridge again (Also yet to be named). Good for the tourist industry. On an island with only 25 kilometers of concrete roads, now-you-have-it, now-you-don't power supply and public beaches as rare as hen's teeth. Meanwhile, thanks to the Canadian Government which funded the trip, a bunch of Samal officials went on a jolly - sorry, 'benchmark activity' - all the way to Boracay to see how they could turn quiet, unspoilt Talikud island into an overcrowded, overdeveloped and over-commercialized dump. First you conjure up something called an Open Beach Project which sounds great after the  privatization of the beaches north and south of Babak until you realize it's snappy official-speak for getting rid of those unsightly/untidy local fishing villages/boatyards and replacing them with nice taxable resorts. If you like your islands quiet, if you like to hear the rustle of wavelets on a beach, I'd get over to Talikud before the peace is shattered by fire dancers, foam parties and other such 'fun'.

Lastly and hark, was that Jose Marie Chan I just heard on the radio? Christmas already?

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 25, 2014.


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