Editorial: Distant government center


THERE are currently plans to locate regional government offices in one area dubbed as the Regional Government Center (RGC).

In a SunStar Davao report on September 15, 2019, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Davao Regional Director Anthony Sales said the RGC will be located within the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in Bago Oshiro, Mintal. Some 80 regional government offices will be located within the 94.7-hectare lot.

Sales, who also heads the Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies (Arena) 11, said relocation of government offices will complement the Republic Act No. 11032, known as the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018,” which aims to fast-track government transactions.

This is a really good idea. Having all government agencies in one location will benefit those who need to avail of government services.

The scenario now is we have to travel from one location to another just to get different documents from different agencies. This not only wastes times on the part of public but also a waste of resources as they have to spend a lot in terms of travel.

The idea of the RGC is good. However, the fact that they will locate it to Bago Oshiro near Mintal may defeat the purpose of the RGC. For those who are not aware, while the location is still within Davao City, traveling to Mintal is like traveling to another city or town.

The location is also very far from the city's center, where all business transactions happen.

A quick look at Google Maps shows that if you are traveling from City Hall to process papers at regional government offices in Mintal, you will have to travel 15.8 kilometers. If you arrived at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (FBIA) and need to immediately rush to a government office to process or pick up some documents, you have to travel a distance of around 24 kilometers.

It would be easy to get to the RGC if you have your vehicle but with the current state of Davao City's public transport system, it would be a hassle to get there. With the city's current traffic situation, getting there may take around an hour.

Its distance from the city hall, where most city government offices are located, is also a problem. People will have to travel a long distance just to get documents from regional government agencies to submit to the city government offices.

Sales said having the RGC outside the city center, which is quite far, will hypothetically decongest traffic. It may decongest traffic but the same problem will continue to exist -- time is still wasted and resources are still wasted. People will travel a long distance just to get a document, sign a document, or pick up a document. Resources are still wasted as transportation expenses will be spent transferring from one form of public transport to another.

Though some government agencies will have satellite offices here in the city center, it may not provide all the needed services an individual needs.

The RGC in Mintal would have been good if all government transactions are digital. However, we have not reached that level of sophistication yet because despite going through an online or digital process, you are still required to process certain manually.

Having an RGC makes sense. It is a good idea. However, its location in Mintal may defeat its purpose of making government services more convenient to the public. For investors and businesses, being far from city government agencies it may not help improve the ease of doing business in the city.

Maybe the government can rethink the location of RGC. There are still better options around the city where they can put up the RGC. What is the purpose of having a one-stop government center when it is far from the center activity? It may decongest traffic as theorized by Sales but will it improve government offices?


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