Atangi!

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I DO wish Paul wouldn't shout - but here he is the other day with Jerry, our local meteorological man.

Welcome Jerry - not keen on the casual denims but at least you're not wearing a silly hat like those other weathermen - and it's been dull and rainy. Are we in for another typhoon so soon after Yolanda?

Well, no Paul. Around 1000 kilometers to the east of Mindanao is an area of low pressure, slowly moving west, which has just entered our area of responsibility bringing with it cloudy weather with moderate to persistent rains. It should clear our islands early next week.

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So there's no chance that this low pressure area will develop into a havoc-wreaking killer super-typhoon?

No Paul. As you can see, on this satellite image covering half of the western Pacific, it's a jumble of clouds, a regular depression, nothing like a cyclone which is a big swirly thing we see coming days away.

So we can't - sorry - spin this item out for half the program with alarming statistics and dire warnings of extreme and really newsworthy weather to come?

No Paul. Look out the window. It's called weather and completely usual for this time of the year.

Atangi! 'City's drainage upgrade, finally?'

I had to snort at this one. The city's Drainage Management Unit - and I bet you never knew such a beast existed - stating that the old 2008 drainage plan, and consequently the intermittent flooding, is caused by and 'overtaken by climate change' and that there will be a meeting of the concerned agencies - city planning, city engineering, public works, etc - 'to come up with a new proposal'.

I was tempted to write what balls but I won't, merely pointing out that the city's 2008 drainage plan has been overtaken and the flooding caused by the phenomenon known as 'concreting' which, in turn, is the product of out of control and unrestricted development of subdivisions and commercial ventures (vast malls) which were permitted and approved by - oh, look - city planning, city engineering and our honorable themselves.

Mind you, the Drainage Management Unit's statement does give us a glimpse of how Davao's agencies work or, rather, don't work. There's no mention anywhere in the statement of actual deeds. Planning, meetings, gatherings galore but no 'look what we've achieved in this direction'. I seem to remember some time ago the mention of a long and exhaustive study of the city's drainage woes by a Dutch consultancy which, presumably, submitted proposals and a comprehensive cure. This wasn't 2008 but last year or the year before; a two-year and, no doubt, expensive study which is now, apparently, forgotten or shelved because here's the DMU 'targeting to finish the proposals for a new drainage plan within the first quarter'.

There's been a similar sequence of non-action over Davao's proposed mass transit system. A two-year survey by an outside consultancy then another suggested couple of years of 'studies' involving 'stakeholders' ending up - five or six years later - with yet another report which - oh, dear - is now out of date. Let's start again which means Davao's agencies and the SP can sit back content that they've done their political duty; displeasing nobody and achieving nothing.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 14, 2014.

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