DAVAO City, Mindanao's gateway and center of commerce, often described as one of the most livable cities in the country with its integrated emergency response system, being considered as among safest cities in the country, and overall good governance by the local government unit.
“Life is Here” as we say.
However, it can be seen and observed that the traffic is getting worse on a daily basis. Though the government is saying they have implemented certain measures or are already implementing some initiatives to ease the traffic, what are the commuters really saying?
John Orly Orque, University of Immaculate Conception Philosophy Professor and a resident for more than four years, said that because of the increase in population, public and private vehicles are also increasing, contributing to the traffic situation in the city.
He noted that during peak hours and especially when it is raining hard, it is difficult for regular commuters to find a public utility vehicle.
For her part, Jo Ana Rose Dublin, a human resource assistant and a resident of El Rio Vista, said though she encounters vehicle traffic, these are still tolerable in some areas, while in others can be stressful.
“I think ang challenge ko lang ngayon is yung pag a-adjust sa oras ng biyahe. So far, yun pa lang. Kasi, unlike before bumabiyahe lang ako ng 15 to 30 minutes from home to my destination but now i have to adjust it to 30 minutes to an hour kasi ina-anticipate ko pa ang traffic along the way. Kaya dapat if my working time is 9 a.m. dapat 8 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. nakaalis na ako ng bahay. Tsaka mejo challenging din ang pag uwi, since you want to go home early hindi mo magagawa kasi kahit anong gawin mong aga ng alis sa trabaho late ka pa din makakauwi because of the traffic,” she said.
For Portia Joy Mondejar, a third year English Major student from UIC and a resident of Landmark Subdivision, the main problem is the lack of jeepneys during rush hours.
“Maglisod ko hulat og jeep basta buntag ug hapon. Igang pa jud ang jeep, kung puno na gani ang jeep, magpasakay pa jud, samot na jud kaigang (It is not easy to hail a jeep in the morning or afternoon. It can get hot inside, and even though the jeepney is already full, drivers would load in some more, thus, it gets hotter),” Mondejar said.
It was also difficult for her to commute after-school hours due to the lack of jeepneys operating the route.
“Gamay ra ang jeep pa-Landmark, so mag-Catitipan akong sakyan, kutob ra man Camp Catitipan, so magsakay pa ko padulong Landmark (There are not many jeeps that serve Landmark, so I ride the Catitipan jeep, get down at Camp Catitipan, and wait for another jeep to Landmark),” she said.
Karen Detoya, an alumnus of UIC, said there is a need to have an effective public transport system, like metro rail transit (MRT) or light rail transit (LRT) systems, in Davao City.
“I think adding MRTs or LRT can minimize traffic and maximize transportation since it can connect distant places in Mindanao together. I think it will be a good alternative of transportation since you can even go to other parts of Davao Region in a short period of time so there will be a lesser need of riding vehicles on the highway. I think using alternative rides would lessen the need to use land transportation vehicles which may lessen the traffic,” Detoya said.
Orque, for his part, said the government could also build superhighways like in Metro Manila to reduce traffic congestion.
However, as we hopefully wait the government to implement better traffic schemes, Pederito Lamoste, an eatery owner outside UIC Annex Campus and a senior citizen, he said, “Para makaiwas sa traffic, e di magsayo ka para di ka ma-late sa imong klase og trabaho (To avoid getting caught in traffic, leave early so you won't be late for work or school).”
Traffic congestion has become more apparent here in Davao and it has become a hassle for the commuters especially with the current state of the PUVs and difficulty in commuting.
It has also become apparent that there is now a need for a more modern or advance means of transportation here in Davao City for us to be able to continue to say, "Life is here." (UIC interns Christian Dez Rey Apique, Christian Gerard Briones, John Jude Benedict L. Malones, Randie Comilang and Ella Leen Kate Legarda)