The City Council summoned the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), City Engineer’s Office (CEO), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the CTTMO to the regular session today to shed light on the status of Shrine Hills.
“This would help us in the City Council in coming up with the necessary legislations to ensure that we make transportation in the city, not only conducive to both residents and investors, but also safe for all of us who live and do business in Davao City,” Councilor Jesus Joseph Zozobrado said in a privilege speech at the city council session, Tuesday.
Zozobrado said the traffic situation in the city is building up for quite some time and it got worse last Friday when traffic was put at a standstill due to the closure of the Shrine Hills-Diversion Road area.
Hundreds of vehicles were stuck in the traffic while hundreds of passengers were stranded without any means of transportation since public utility jeepneys could not get through.
“That Friday’s traffic was indeed a great equalizer as everyone, rich and poor, was caught in the traffic. The only difference was that those who had their own vehicles had an option to take the alternative routes,” he said.
However, he added, those who took the public utility jeepneys did not have a choice but to wait for hours stranded on the road.
Zozobrado said last Friday’s traffic situation should be an eye opener as it made Davaoeños realized how dependent we were on one main route to and from the city.
“And until such time the alternative routes such as the Bypass Road and the Coastal Road are completed, then we can expect to experience the same traffic horror over and over again,” he said.
Environmentalists have repeatedly warned us about the danger lurking along Shrine Hills and even the MGB has reported the risks of allowing further development along Shrine Hills.
“That is a tragedy waiting to happen unless and until we heed these calls and act on it,” he said.
Zozobrado said the city government, through the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (DRRMC), has already warned of an impending disaster in the area by warning motorists and residents on the erosion along Shrine Hills and Diversion Road in Barangay Langub fronting the old dump site.
“That should have given the DPWH as well as the CEO a heads-up on what could possibly happen in the days to come. After all, these offices have the expertise when it comes to structural engineering matters and they are supposed to know what happens if you dig near an already stressed-out slope such as the Shrine Hills,” he said.
Zozobrado, however, said this is not the time to point fingers. Instead, the government needs to act on this fast if it wants to provide a remedy or even a solution to the problem.
The invited agencies will be asked to brief the Council on the status of their land widening and construction works and the possible areas that would have a similar effect to what happened along diversion road.
They are also requested to provide an update on future road construction projects in the pipeline that will provide alternative routes to the city. Lovely A. Carillo