Rough Cuts | A city college is long overdue

This is one dream that should have been dreamed years of sleeps ago.

We refer to the decision of the local government of Davao City to undertake the initial steps for the establishment of a city-operated college.

Reports published in the city’s local dailies say that the city government is conducting a pre-qualification bidding for the conduct of a feasibility study on the sustainability of putting up a community college. The study is funded by a P4 million budget derived from a 2017 supplemental appropriation intended for the purpose.

Really we do not know why it took the city too long to even decide to have a feasibility study undertaken. We have been religiously monitoring the city’s report of revenues, receipts and disbursements that is caused to be published by the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) monthly. From that report any interested party can easily glean that the city is awash with cash as its income always overshoots its expenditures.

Of course that should be expected from a city that is one of the few highly urbanized and exceptionally efficient in its tax collection activity. That is why the LGU has a whooping more than P7 billion budget this year.

So, to doubt that Davao City cannot afford to put up its own college fully or partially subsidized is beyond explanation.

If we have to cite an example in Cebu Province, the Municipality of Cordova, one that is not even a first class town, is operating its own college offering courses mostly tech-voc related. The school has survived its birth pains. Today it has been turning out college graduates who are now gainfully employed in industrial firms located inside the nearby Mactan Industrial Zones, and in Cebu City and overseas.

May be those consulting firms that are interested to have a better benchmark for their feasibility study can send its people to Cordova and inquire how the town’s community college came into being.

And if the study can be fast tracked it would be to the advantage of the city government. A city community college could well be the biggest contribution of Davao to the successful implementation of Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

After all the city can very well afford to have one. So, let that city-operated college get started and start it soonest.

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Last week we disclosed in this column the sudden construction of a makeshift structure converted into a store. The apparently illegally built store is located right at the foot of the ladder of an overpass crossing the MacArthur National Highway at the vicinity of the Davao City Special High School and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Bangkal. We have no doubt it is catering to the students of the special high school as well as some employees of CENRO and even those of the NEDA regional office.

We have also observed that a space closed to the same structure is being used as a “now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t” vehicle repair shop catering to privately-owned cars. But there was a time when a passenger bus had its radiator system hurriedly repaired forcing those on board to alight to escape heat while waiting for the work to be completed.

We called the attention of the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) because we believe that it is that office’s responsibility to ensure that sidewalks remain appropriated for public use and not for private enterprise.

Unfortunately, until yesterday the makeshift store with a smaller one added, still remains. We are just wondering whether the CEO has people roving around the city to check on government or public properties that may have been unilaterally appropriated by private persons or entities for their own use to the detriment of the city.

Or, are the CEO people so afraid to get out of the comforts of their air-conditioned offices to brave the heat of the sun in the course of performing their prescribed responsibilities?

Should they wait for the said sidewalks to be fully occupied with structures of entrepreneurs that it would now be difficult to boot them out?

Pray, tell the people.

Posted in Opinion