IN DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's keynote speech during the 50th Annual Installation of Officers and Board of Trustees of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) last Friday at SMX Convention Center, she raised only two major concerns that she sought DCCCII's support for: traffic and roads.
"Mao nang mulo natong tanan (That is our common complaint)," she said.
Like all other Dabawenyos, the mayor longed for the old days when life was simple and easy in Davao City. Not the congested and harried life that met Dabawenyos soon after its former mayor became the Philippine President.
As she interjected her prepared speech on how the City Government of Davao is looking forward to attract more investments with a spontaneous admission of not really wanting what the city has become overnight, the mayor practically put to words what majority of Dabawenyos are wishing for.
"Sa totoo lang, iya nang sinasabi ko because this is my job as a city mayor, but personally sa totoo lang hindi ko na talaga gusto na lumaki pa ang Davao City because it's really a big headache 'pag sobrang daming tao kasi dumarami rin yung problema na kailangan namin i-address. But you know, hindi man din pwede na sabihin namin na ayaw namin. But that is my personal feelings and I take it apart from what I need to do as city mayor," she said, giving the Chamber a peek into the Dabawenya in her.
Let us count ourselves fortunate that with the explosion of interest on Davao City after President Rodrigo R. Duterte was elected into office and put Davao's already booming economy on a turbo-mode is the resultant interest on fast-tracking the long-neglected infrastructure development in Mindanao.
A relative decongestion of the gridlock at the Ulas Junction is already being experienced with the opening of the Ulas-Puan bypass road. There are several more in the making including the Bacaca-Maa-Diversion via Slaughterhouse Road that is estimated to be completed by July this year. The Bunawan-Cabantian-Buhangin Road is also being expanded to ease the traffic on the Davao-Agusan Road that can sometimes go at a standstill in Sasa and Panacan.
That the City is also pushing the high-priority bus system as assisted by the Asian Development Bank is an added plus for mass transport. We have to admit, Multicabs are the worst kind of mass transport a city can ever give its people. Not only are they the most uncomfortable, they also fill up the streets upto the last tiny space just to ferry the volume of commuters from north to south. Davao City, with its 1.6-million population is in dire need of a real mass transport, not tiny vehicles where the masses are crammed into knee to knee and elbow to elbow.
In the meantime, the bypass roads that are being constructed are a welcome reprieve. These plus the development of a comprehensive transportation and management plan that the city plans to embark on, we see a better Davao City in the near future.
Fast as the city is growing, we know that this is but a temporary reprieve. The fast growth of the city and its population demands an urban development plan that lays the development and groundwork for the next century, at least, as development per decade these days is nothing but stop-gap measures that will surely lead us toward the urban decay that Metro Manila has become.