Ledesma: Some silver lining in Davao City


DAVAO City taxi drivers, I would grant, are comparatively honest than those from other cities in the country but sadly many are ignorant of traffic rules and regulations and are strangers to road courtesy and discipline. Only the motorcycle drivers exceed them in all counts. Thus, I would venture to guess that maybe 90 percent of road accidents in the city involve taxis and motorcycles.

The worst violators of speed limits are motorcycle drivers too but taxi and private vehicle pilots are not far behind.

The worst public vehicles in the country are the Davao City multi-cabs which were salvaged from the vehicle cemeteries in Japan, smuggled into the country and mysteriously allowed by the government through the Department of Trade and Industry to be re-assembled from right-hand to left hand driven. And here’s the rub. In turn, the Land Transportation Office allows its registration and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board issues these mongrelized vehicle the franchise to operate.

While all these cannot be undone, something there is that can alter all these.

City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio had seen this ignominy from her childhood days to the present she has come up with a bus transport scheme which will formally commence this January. The trial run was made last year and the ambitious and radical change in the mode of transportation for the city had been given the green signal by the National Economic Development too. Close to half a billion pesos is set aside by the City Government to fast-track the project.

The jeepney drivers will have a first crack at the required numbers of drivers and conductors of the initial 1,000 buses that will be deployed. Among the requirements is for the applicants to first undergo training under TESDA. Among the training modules is road courtesy and updating the knowledge of drivers’ traffic rules and regulations.

Mayor Inday too had embarked on what was like impossible in the past.

This is the laying down of power and communications cables underground. The project was started over a year ago but the implementation is at a snail’s pace. The contractor engaged by Davao Light Company to undertake the project appears to be lacking both in experience and the right equipment and laborers and does not seem to know where to start and where to end and when. My gosh! They not only take their time in stride, they seem to enjoy some extent of abuse by digging in front of establishments and leave the excavations there for months. In front of the Methodist Mission Center building in C.M. Recto where I hold fort, the narrow access road is even made narrower when the contractor erected two steel posts on each side of the isle you have to be at the center of C. M. Recto to drive through the posts so that you will not sideswipe these. In front of Marco Polo, the diggings never ended and then just covered these with soil instead of steel slabs like how DCWD do. Still we hope that eventually the project will be finished pronto.

By and large the New Year appears to be rosy. The coastal road and the additional bridge across Davao River is coming to a fruition and will effectively decongest traffic. The Davao International Airport is to undergo a massive facelift this year, so we were told. All these are enough for us to celebrate. Still I believe there will be more. So Cheers!


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