Disaster and abomination-A A +A
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
MUCH of last Wednesday and Thursday evening's news was taken up with overlong features and interviews concerning the handful of houses -- less than a handful -- knocked down by rough seas at Times beach and Matina Aplaya. Houses built of odds and ends -- coco lumber, amacan, hardboard -- and built on a beach which is by definition sea territory and not people territory.
The phrase “disaster preparedness” comes to mind. We've suffered unending footage of various city officials stuffing down free food at disaster preparedness seminars and meeting and briefings at fancy hotels; we're also shown footage of disaster preparedness in action -- folks living in landslip-prone areas being carted off to relocation sites -- and yet all along Davao City's coastline the beaches are occupied by row upon row of shanties. Some on stilts, some not, all cobbled together from insubstantial materials.
What would happen if the city one day was on the receiving end of some really heavy seas. A storm out at sea coinciding with high tide and an in shore wind? Doesn't "disaster preparedness" -- removing folks from obviously calamity-prone areas -- apply to those living on the city's
beaches as well as those living in landslip-prone areas?
Various officials were interviewed on the evening news and to a man they deplored on the one hand the "illegal" structures on the beaches whilst with the other doled out financial assistance so that the same shanties could be built of the same flimsy materials in exactly the same place. A disaster waiting to happen.
Also around midweek Councilor Braga, chair of the SP committee on energy, transportation and communication, presented an illustration of the proposed standard model for motorcycle/sidecar combinations that will be allowed to operate for hire in Davao City.
The machine, a tasteful lime-green, didn't look too commodious -- capacity maybe two-and-a-half passengers -- and can you imagine thousands of these twee machines tuk-tuk'ing around the city's streets clogging up the traffic? Just about the most energy-inefficient form of public transport you could think of and courtesy of our committee of, ahem, energy and transportation.
Councilor Braga also noted that these new abominations --sorry, combinations -- would be included in the new Land Transportation and Traffic Code -- this last a sort of mythic beastie the SP has been gestating for fifteen years or so -- and we're darn well going to crack down and regulate for hire motorcycles in Davao.
Oh, hold me up someone. The city regulates habal-habals and payong-payong? More likely there'll be a moratorium declared, all the rage these days, saves buckling down to the job and remember, remember, elections are just around the corner.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 11, 2012.