Sunday, February 22, 2015

Davao road networks at bottom of 16 cities in WWF study

Davao City’s economy may be touted as one of the strongest in Mindanao and even in the whole country but it ranked lowest among 16 Philippine cities when it comes to road network according to a recent World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature study.

“Out of the 16 cities Davao City has the worst record with only nine percent of its total road network paved,” said Jose Maria Lorenzo Tan, Vice-Chairman and the President and CEO of WWF-Philippines isaid. Tan was in the city for the presentation of WWF’s findings on a study on the Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Change Impacts of 16 cities conducted from 2011 to 2013.

Aside from Davao, the other cities included in the study are Baguio, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, Laoag, Zamboanga, Angeles, Batangas, Naga, Tacloban, Butuan, General Santos, Puerto Princesa and Santiago.

“The city (Davao) may report it builds new roads but these are not really paved roads,” he said. Davao has one kilometer of paved road for every 20 square kilometer of land, he said, compared to Puerto Princesa which has one kilometer of road for every 1.7 square kilometer of land.

Tan said “one thing that scares me when he (Duterte) becomes president is that we may not have any roads at all.” While he admitted that almost everywhere within the city is paved, he said people should go to the outskirts to see the real state of the road network.

Tan said Dabawenyos could not claim that Davao is the largest city in terms of land area because “halos magkasing-laki lang sila ng Puerto Princesa and the latter have kilometers of paved road.”

Davao City has a land area of 2443.61 sq km compared to Puerto Princesa’s land area of 2539.82 sq km. Davao is however more populated with up to 1.5 million people as of 2010 compared to Puerto Princesa with only 222,673 people during the same period.

Population in Davao City has grown by 692,109 from 850,316 in 1990 to 1,542,425 in
2010. Population Density has increased from 348 per sq km in 1990, to an estimated 631 per sq km in 2010.

The report shows that in parallel with the city’s population growth and expansion, the number of Motor Vehicles here has exploded by 3.5 times, from 37,378 vehicles in 1990, to 136,283 motor vehicles in 2010.

“Barring inner city re-development, better traffic management and an improved road network, road congestion and degraded air quality could be a matter for concern,” Tan said.

Tan said one cannot expect the city to pave all its roads at one time due to finance constraints. However, he said, it should get inspiration from Puerto Princesa where Mayor Edward Hagedorn allots a budget for paved road annually.

“Puerto Princesa is almost as big as Davao but its road network is much bigger. It has traditionally allotted an annual budget for cementing its roads so they are doing it slowly but surely,” he said.

He said it is not enough to just point a finger at the national government  because the local government can improve its road network every year by apportioning a little of its budget for paved roads just like Puerto Princesa.

“The paved road ratio is something that will have to be improved. We will make sure of that by the next presidency,” said Engr. Mario Luis Jacinto, former chief of the City Planning Office and now consultant to the city mayor.

Jacinto said the city has not been getting enough allocation for roads from the national government but “we will make sure that it will be improved especially in the production areas.”

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