Davao is safe for ships

This old report from the International Maritime Bureau was simply outrageous.

“The center said ships calling at Davao in the Philippines have also reported men firing rocket-propelled grenades at ships from banca (small canoe with outriggers). In the past 4 weeks, four ships have been attacked this way.”

This report was part of the FF World Ocean News to warn against pirates.

I have been a resident of Davao for the past 52 years, a member of the media and an elected official. I can attest that no incident of this type happened in Davao.

Clear proof of this is the uninterrupted sailings of banana boats from Davao to Japan, China, South Korea, Middle East and other destinations.

This news would definitely help correct the utterly erroneous IMB report.

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Admirable airline

Here’s another reason why Singapore Airlines is a class above the rest.

Starting today, it would reduce fuel surcharges on certain flights. Just when other major airlines are starting to squeeze passengers pocket dry with luggage fees, Singapore Airlines is rolling back on fuel levy as the price of crude oil plummets from its $147 per barrel highs last July.

Local carriers PAL and Cebu Pacific should follow this lead to be fair with their passengers.

4:55 a.m.

Jeepney-bashing

I do not agree that mass transit systems like Metro Manila’s LRT/MRT will cause buses and jeepneys to stop running and just phase out.

The prognosis of this DOTC official is simply outrageous. He said “buses and jeepneys will voluntarily leave Metro streets” once the government complete its railway system.

The rail system cannot simply accommodate all commuters in Metro Manila. In fact, today it is running at full capacity and its operators plan to acquire more coaches.

In Davao, a university professor proposed that the city government adopt a bus system and do away with jeepneys.

During the 1970s, many subdivisions in the city have their bus system mostly owned and ran by homeowners associations. DDF in Mandug, Dacoville in Dumoy, Monte Maria in Catalunan Grande and our own subdivision in Maa, Gem Village, were among those with several units of 30-35 seater mini-buses.

High cost of maintenance such as spare parts, tires, fuel and labor led to the eventual death of this bus system. A number were taken over by commercial bus companies like those at Catalunan Grande. Even this did not prove viable.

A number of schools likewise had their bus fleets during the 1960s to 1980s. Ateneo and Philippine Women’s at Matina, Assumption in Agdao and Immaculate Conception at Bankerohan ferry their students from the outlaying suburbs of the city to the schools and vice versa. Now, Ateneo has totally stopped this service and the fleets of the others are now reduced to a few units.

Today, there are commercial buses plying routes in the outskirts of the city like Calinan. But they are outnumbered by jeepneys by as much as 100 to 1.

There are proposals for Davao to adopt a rail system too. But its taking too long for proponents to decide on it not to count the huge cost it would entail in building such as system in a market that may not have reached yet a critical mass.

I believe jeepneys would continue to be the main mode of transportation for our people and our cities. Even if the price of oil rise in the next ten years. I simply cannot imagine any alternative.

I think the greater challenge is how to make jeepneys more fuel efficient rather than propose its death.

5:52 a.m.