Wednesday’s issue of The Mindanao Daily Mirror highlighted the government’s push to decongest the urban center of Davao City by building a bypass road that would redirect traffic to other areas. This is certainly a laudable program and will not just declog the city but also spur economic growth as the movement of people and goods becomes easier and faster. One of the major problems of the country, after all, is the loss of billions of pesos daily due to traffic congestion. While Davao City is still quite a way from suffering the same fate that has befallen Metro Manila, citizens are already feeling the pinch as traffic jams become a normal occurrence during rush hour. It is never too early to start addressing the problem.
The same issue of the Mirror carried the photo of a traffic enforcer giving a citation to a pedestrian for jaywalking. While this is also laudable since jaywalking is an offense that not just ties up traffic but also endangers lives and limbs, we must also point out that this highlights the rather lopsided view government has on movement within the city. While almost all road infrastructure is built for vehicles, precious few is allotted for pedestrians. SIdewalks are lacking, pedestrian crossings and overpasses are few and far between, and traffic rules favor cars instead of those who walk. Not only are pedestrians left with no choice but to walk in dangerous places, they are penalized for doing so.
One would think that, in a day and age when protecting the environment is becoming more and more important, government would encourage people to walk instead of drive or ride vehicles. Unfortunately this seems to be the case as funds get allotted for roads while little is left for sidewalks, pathways, and other such conveniences for pedestrians. We hope government changes its view and realize that the needs of those who walk also have to be addressed.