Our column was missing on this page in this newspaper’s Friday and Saturday issues. Sorry that we failed the expectation of those regular readers of our pieces.

    The whole morning of Thursday last week, the time we usually write our column for the next day’s issue, we were in a vaccination hub for the CoViD 19 to have our second and last of the booster shots against the dreaded virus. The result is that we could no anymore meet the deadline for submission.

     On the other hand, last Friday, we had to choose between a household chore and as babysitter of our youngest grandchild, a year-and-five-month-old baby girl who just learned to walk barely 2 months ago. Her mother is an office worker who had to report to her office twice weekly but works from home from Monday through Wednesday. Last Friday, she was in the office, and our daughter (her mother), who temporarily lives with us due to the pandemic, had to leave our grandchild to the “lola’s” care.

     That day also was the usual day for the family to go to the grocery store for our two-week requirements. And normally, it is the wife’s responsibility. But since there was a schedule conflict, we were asked by her which one of the two chores we would prefer, go to the grocery or watch the now precocious baby. We chose the former. So we again missed writing our piece for the Saturday-Sunday combined issues.

     Anyhow, we are back today and hopefully tomorrow, and the rest of the remaining editions for this month.

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     The noise created by those affected tricycle drivers and commuters in the Calinan Poblacion because of a traffic management innovation effected recently by Calinan Barangay Captain Ursi Ungab with approval from the Davao City Traffic Management Division, reminds us of our favorite and often quoted statement by our professor in an audit class at the University of South Eastern Philippines (USEP) Dr. Mariano Domingo. He was from UP-Diliman for his regular teaching profession. Our class then met one weekend only every two weeks.

     Dr. Domingo’s favorite quote is, “Development project or anything of that sort, is only real when upon its completion, there are more people who will benefit from it that those who suffer from its consequence.”

     Yes, we are reminded of this favorite statement of our professor because we clearly saw the intention of Barangay Captain Ungab when he instituted an innovative scheme to solve the chaotic traffic situation in the central district of Calinan, especially the area within the vicinity of the public market.

     As the barangay is fast becoming a commercial center of the third administrative and congressional districts of Davao City, new malls and large grocery establishments, banks, eateries, and other business enterprises are sprouting like mushrooms. With the commercial growth comes the trooping to the central area a good number of people having various kinds of transaction with either government or private establishments. Residents from the hinterland barangays surrounding Calinan and even from the remotest of villages in Marilog and Baguio districts troop to the Calinan township center every day, more so on Saturdays and Sundays.

     Since the only most convenient means of transportation is either the single motorcycle, more commonly known as “habal-habal,”  or the tricycle that carries more passengers and cargo than the former, Calinan central roads now, according to Kapitan Ungab, end up hosting a total of 4,700 plus of this kind of vehicles every day of the week. And by necessity, these too, ply the Davao-Bukidnon highway, which under the law is supposed to be free of this kind of transportation when used as public utility vehicles.

     But no, this transportation is not only plying the prohibited national highway and lording over it; the drivers are also making some sections of the national roadsides, especially those fronting large grocery and convenience stores, their parking areas. Even as the previously designated parking locations in a section of the market compound are over-parked most of the time, the drivers still find ways to slither their way inside since being there means easier picking up of passengers. What happened after is a Calinan Central area with hardly a space for pedestrians, mostly market goers, grocery shoppers, and those having any kind of business transactions at the district level. Vehicular traffic is already becoming a serious mess.

     This situation was observed by Captain Ungab, who incidentally is a former policeman. Apparently, disturbed by the kind of traffic situation in his barangay Ungab did the unexpected “radical” way of arresting the growth of traffic.  In consultation with several sectors and with the Traffic Management Unit of Davao City, Captain Ungab’s team came up with a scheme where single motorbike passenger vehicles and tricycles of all kinds with routes to and from different outlying villages or barangays were assigned areas where to park and deliver their passengers and cargoes, as well as wait for passengers going back to their respective route origin. And only Barangay Calinan-based tricycles are allowed to ply the routes in and around the Calinan Central district. The intention, of course, is to ease traffic and give better opportunities for tricycle drivers to earn more.

     Of course, the move by Captain Ungab was immediately met with complaints by both drivers or tricycle owners and passengers from the barangays. For the drivers, it would mean additional expense because they have to pay a certain amount as a parking fee. And this is collected every time they use the parking area which they have to. In the case of passengers, they will have to have additional expenses for fares as they have to take another ride from the terminal to their destination in Calinan central district. And again, they have to take another ride from where they are going back to the terminal where the tricycles plying for their barangays are parked.

     But as of last Saturday, the end objective of the barangay captain’s innovative scheme was already clearly observable. The number of tricycles and habal-habals plying the central area of Calinan was already very few resulting in the substantial easing up of the vehicular traffic around the market vicinity. The Davao-Bukidnon National Highway and its stretches at the Calinan Poblacion were already very much relieved of public utility vehicles either parking along certain sides or roaming around for passengers and cargoes.

     The question now is how many will admit without reservation that they benefitted from the scheme without taking into account their own inconveniences with the traffic management innovation? Yes, we believe it is the worst of dishonesty if the greater number will still complain of inconvenience with the additional minimal fare expenses if they are already relieved of unnecessary delays in their activities due to the humongous traffic situation in downtown Calinan.

     Today anyone who happens to be in the said township can easily observe the very orderly road situation in its central area, especially the roads surrounding the public market. But of course, it has to be admitted that initially, there are those who believe that they are suffering because of the new scheme, even as many would be proud to admit they are reaping the benefits of Captain Ungab’s radical strategy.

                                                                             

               

 


Source: Mindanao Times ( https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2022/09/12/rough-cuts-radically-innovative-but-the-scheme-works/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rough-cuts-radically-innovative-but-the-scheme-works)