Written by: Francisco , Carmelito Q. for Mindanao Times
A LOCAL investor is looking at the Davao River as a means for public transportation system,
The investor, which Roberto P. Alabado III did not identify so as not to preempt the plan, has started doing the study on tapping the river as a transportation highway since last year, said Mr. Alabado, City Planning and Development Office head.
If the investor finds that coming up with a transportation system in the river is feasible, then the city government “will immediately act on it,” said Alabado, pointing out that the city government has been finding ways on how to decongest the streets used by passenger vehicles.
At present, there is a Davao River -based transportation system, but this is a short route and is using old bancas. What is being envisioned, Alabado explained, is a longer transport system that will pass through several barangays in the city and which is efficient and can become tourist attraction.
The river, about 160 kilometers in length, traverses several key villages in the city and can become alternative to barangay roads. “To me this is a highway that will not have to be built. This is an available resource (that can be tapped),” said Mr. Alabado, an urban planner by profession.
This is just one mode of transportation that the city government is considering as the Asian
Development Bank is also embarking on a $300,000 (P13.08 million @P43.6=$1) study for land-based public transportation system of the city.
Among the initial suggestions for public transportation system is a bus rapid transport system as the company tapped by the bank to study the city’s public transportation system said there is indeed a need to upgrade passenger utility vehicles.
However, Engr. Rene S. Santiago of Almec Corp., leader of the study team, said setting up a light rail transit is not feasible considering that the traffic is still very thin. “It is a luxury that the people of Davao cannot likely afford,” said Mr. Santiago, pointing out that might need another 15 years to prepare the city for this system.
He pointed out that even in Metro Manila, the government is subsidizing the light transit system at about P8.59 million annually.
But just like Mr. Alabado, Mr. Santiago said that even if the city government will continue to allow passenger tricycles and jeepneys to ply city routes, these must be upgraded.
Mr. Alabado said the need is for these transportation systems not only to be efficient but also lessen their contribution to carbon dioxide emission. “They must be (fuel) efficient,” he said, pointing out that the city government is studying the possibility of coming up with regulations that will address this problem.
He said there is a need for the city government to consider the contribution of these vehicles to carbon emissions considering that this is also the policy of the national government which passed the Clean Air Act, a law passed in 1999 to address air pollution.