Gonzaga: Much ado about trees to stay on center island Shopping road

Ecoviews and Issues

COUNCILOR Carl Lopez effort to hold a public hearing on whether trees planted at center island along Shopping area should stay, is commendable. However, a closer scrutiny of the trees in question show that they are “exotic tree” variety--mostly Indian Neem tree type. Observation studies have shown that the Indian exotic trees are heavy water drawer from the ground. With concerns expressed no less by the governor that Negros Occidental has looming water shortage, this is one info resource that should not be ignored.

Personally, as resident of 13th St.-Hilado Extn. where these trees stand, I do not really consider them of ecological value worthy of saving. For one, they are not indigenous tree species. Bacoleños, especially residents of the district, are better off if the trees are cleared to give way to a wider road. Another reason is that, the Indian trees are not hard wood, and easily fall off with strong winds as already experienced by those who planted them in their gardens.

Hilado Extension is commonly subjected to “bottle neck” phenomenon every school day, because of the “prima donna” school in the area-Hua Ming or St.John. During hours parents bring their children to school and pick them up, residents in the vicinity of 13th St. could hardly go out of their street, and almost always trapped in the long line up of cars of parents and drivers bringing their wards to Hua Ming.

Clearing the center island would certainly solve the periodic traffic jam in the neighborhood. Regarding this virtual ‘Chinatown’ of Bacolod, the following are my suggestions to our hardworking city administrator and city council:

1. Sidewalk cleared of illegal settlers and sellers must be rehabilitated

While we congratulated the City Mayor’s Office for finally clearing the sidewalks fronting Doctors Hospital going toward Hilado Extn., they have been virtually destroyed by illegal structures built on them by the vendors and illegal settlers. The sidewalks have to be cemented anew--no need for fancy painted pavers that would cost ‘millions’. Just plain, sturdy and safe walkways are needed.

Though cleared, there are surreptitious moves of stubborn vendors, two or three by the sidewalk along Hilado Extn., who have returned with portable tables and chairs, and improvised tarp roof. Calling City Administrator John Orola to make another sweep of such cockroach-like techniques of vendors in the area.

2. Huge, heavy trucks should not be allowed in busy 13th St.-Hilado Extn.

For the record, I was the one who relentlessly pressed upon the late Mayor Junior Montelibano in 1982-1983, to concretise the then muddy 13th street, “pabukid”.

Concerned about quality road construction, I monitored the laying of roadbed and concreting of the road. I also petitioned City Hall to address the seasonal flooding of the area. 13th St. was one quiet neighborhood, until under the Leonardia administration the Traffic Division Office decided to reroute traffic in the street.

To my dismay, Hua Ming also constructed their kinder and low primary grades building which brought in heavy traffic during certain hours of the day—“dul-ong and sundo” times. Add to that, the building of a huge warehouse of MB Commercial which brought in heavy, long trucks that invariably cut cable lines for internet and telephone services. 13th Street carrying capacity has been over reached, and zoning ordinance has to be implemented.

It is really unjust that one big hardware business, and school would lord over the use of one small side street, perennially jammed by heavier traffic influx.

Time for the city to impose zoning ordinances, and Barangay 7 officials to arise out of slumber and act for the good of taxpayers living in the district.


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