Editorial: Davao City's growing urban problems

IN A sense, the statement that "Davao, life is here" is true. Here we enjoy urban living but at the same time get to enjoy the benefits of provincial living. As compared to most urban cities, life in Davao City is generally comfortable with lower cost of living, abundance of food sources, cleaner environment, better governance, and a quieter community.

Davao City had been regarded for many of its best practices whether in terms of how it is governed, the laws that it has enacted, or its programs for those living within the city.

However, as much as we love Davao City, we cannot deny the fact that the city has growing urban problems that need to be immediately addressed. Some of these are the poor public transport system, worsening traffic situation in the city, flooding in many portions, and environmental problems.

We have written countless times about the poor public transport in Davao City. For a city the size of Davao and with the number of people commuting daily, the current public transport system of the city is outdated and poor.

During rainy days, many Dabawenyos living in the city's suburbs find it hard to get on a jeep or on an L300 to go home. Some would have to wait hours before they can ride one.

Rain or shine, it is always not a good experience to ride a jeep because of how hot it can be, how tight it is when in full capacity, and you could even get wet when it is raining.

We commend the city for launching the Peak Hours Augmentation Bus System (PHABS) to cater to commuters of the Toril and Catalunan Grande route, it has somehow brought relief to many commuters.

It also good to note that they are looking into implementing PHABS in other routes. Better, the city must fast-track the implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) for all major routes.

Many commuters in Davao City have long been calling for the implementation of the bus system. It also good to note that Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio has put the bus system as among the city's priority projects. We just hope that it will be implemented sooner.

Coupled with the poor public transport system, the city is also facing a worsening traffic problem. Though not as bad as Metro Manila and Metro Cebu but the traffic here is already bad compared to, say, five or 10 years ago.

Traveling from downtown area to Toril, Tibungco, or Indagan on a jeep can take up to a maximum of two hours when traffic is bad or during peak hours. There had been days when commuting from CM Recto to Lanang via JP Laurel can take up to an hour instead of just 20 to 30 minutes that we are used to.

There are a lot of factors to the city's traffic woes like the small roads, drivers who lack road discipline, and the volume of private vehicles. New road networks and a better public transport system may help improve the city's traffic.

The city's flooding problem is also worsening. City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office (CDDRMO) operations officer Rodrigo Bustillo described the flood on the night of August 28 as one of the biggest he experienced.

The flood affected over 3,500 families who had no water and electricity for several days after the flood. Portions of downtown area are also becoming instant rivers or lakes during heavy rains.

The city might want to implement a long-term solution to the growing flood problem.

On top of these, the city may need to address issues on the environment that it is facing. One of these is the growing garbage problem. While Davao City has been recognized as among the cleanest cities in the Philippines, a look into the city's canals or in some coastal barangays, you will find piles of trash. T

he flooding is also a red flag for the city to take a look at its uplands and see if trees are still there to protect it from flashfloods.

While a lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of the city to resolve these glaring issues, Dabawenyos also play part in the solution.

In improving the traffic situation, some drivers can be more responsible and be reminded that they do not own the streets. For the environment, Dabawenyos can start by reducing the waste they produce.

Generally, "Life is here" but if nothing is done to immediately address these problems, we can forget that motto and change it to "Stress is here".


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