ROUGH CUTS| CENRO’s Madrazo: blood in her hands if…

LAST Wednesday we again negotiated the Magtuod-Calinan short cut road passing through New Carmen where the Davao City Sanitary Land Fill area is located. We were on board a relative’s vehicle and on our way to Calinan..

     As we approached the blind curve leading to a crest that has been the subject of complaints by motorists to be a potential danger zone, we noticed that some four vehicles ahead of us were slowing down, and their brake lights were indicating that they were trying to avoid moving backwards and bumping the front portion of those that were following them.

     It turned out that the drivers of the vehicles ahead of us were giving way to the vehicles coming from the other side. We too, have to execute the same procedure because there were two other vehicles following us.

     When it was our turn to move forward we realized that half of the 2-lane road was occupied by about ten fully loaded giant garbage trucks. The vehicles were emptied with recyclable refuse such as plastic bottles, soft drinks cans, other plastic materials and anything that can be sold in the junkshops or converted into other products or items.

     Like most of the complaining motorists, we do not begrudge the people retrieving recyclables as their means of eking out a living. We are not also complaining of the obnoxious odor that emanates from the refuse that are temporarily unloaded along the side of the road in that particular area. It is the residents nearby who are breathing the air, and we know that they are already immuned from the smell. And by the way, the portion of the Magtuod-Calinan road that we are writing about is near the boundary of barangays Magtuod and New Carmen. And this is about 400 meters away from a banana processing center being operated by a foundation that is very much in the effort of protecting the environment.

     Actually, passing motorists, us included, do not mind even if half of the lane is occupied by dump trucks carrying recyclable garbage if this portion of the road is flat, not a hill crest, and not a blind curve.

On a flat terrain, drivers can see any approaching vehicle and it would be easy for them to just give due courtesy to vehicles first to approach the remaining unoccupied lane.

     But the problem with this particular place is that it is not only a blind curve coming from either of the approaches, it is also winding and hilly. And since nobody is manning the area to signal vehicles coming from both sides either to stop or proceed, chances are vehicles meet on the top of the crest making the situation difficult to maneuver, more so if none would like to back off.

     Of course this situation in that part of the road would not have happened had not the recyclers, or whoever is, or are their buyers not converted the flat portion of the road side into their open bodega where sacks and sacks of recyclables are piled up waiting for vehicles to load them and transport the segregated recyclables to the nearest recycling plants or to the junk shops.

     While no serious accident has happened involving vehicles like collisions, we are calling on City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) head Engr. Eliza Madrazo to take a look into this matter and issue a public statement on what the real score of the operation of the recyclable materials retrieval area. Is it approved by the CENRO? Does it have a business permit?

     If the CENRO has no record of the operation of this recyclable retrieval area, then it is about time that Engr. Madrazo should take time to leave her office even for just an hour and visit for herself the controverted area.

     She has to inquire who is behind the operation of that retrieval site because we believe that she could not just close her eyes so she cannot see vehicle collision victims because of her office’s apparent negligence.

     We know that if nothing is done to check on the operation of that retrieval area for recyclables, vehicle collisions are likely to happen sooner than later. And if there will be casualties, the CENRO chief could end up haunted by her conscience.

     By ignoring the calls of affected motorists to check on the area, Engr. Madrazo may find her hands full of blood, not hers of course, but that of the victims of vehicular accidents that could happen in the area.

Posted in Opinion