Rough Cuts | Many want him in the list

A few weeks back the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced it has already filed cases against certain officials of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the City Engineer’s Office, certain executives of the burnt NCCC Mall in Maa and of the SSI, the call center company that suffered the most number of employees who died in the December 23, 2017 mall fire.

The filing of the cases against the personalities of the BFP, the CEO, the Mall and the Call Center was the offshoot of the recommendation by a special task force created to investigate the incident which killed 38 people.
The latest report on the filing of the cases somewhat bolstered the spirit of the victims’ relatives because finally the respondents were already named. An earlier similar report published in the papers and broadcast on radio and television did not mention any specific persons as respondents. It simply mentioned the organization where the now identified respondents were or are connected.
At first glance many observers and watchers of the updates on the mall fire and what the authorities are doing about it, would probably think that justice has already been served to all those who lost their lives due to the incident.
But no, it is not the case. In fact many of the relatives of the victims think that the list of those charged in the complaints is lacking. At least three of these relatives told us that there was one person’s name missing in the list of respondents. And they feel that the person in fact deserves to be on top of the list of respondents.
These burning victims’ relatives said they were surprised to know that a ranking executive of SSI, the mall tenant that employed the most number of the fire casualties, is not included in the list of respondents. Instead an SSI top honcho based in Cebu City is the one listed in the accused list.
They strongly believe that such move is unfair to the Cebu-based SSI official since the company has a man who, they claimed, was right inside the SSI office when the fire occurred. They further alleged that the said SSI executive did not act like a real captain of his sinking ship – to be the last to leave. The call center top guy, according to the victims’ closest of kin, was seen outside the establishment at the very time when the victims were still struggling to extricate themselves unsuccessfully from the raging inferno.
From our understanding of their statement it is easy to deduce that the said relatives of the fire victims, the Davao-based call center executive deserves to be in the list of respondents rather than the Cebu-based superior.
Whether or not these allegations are true, and their opinion is valid, the public cannot give a fair take on the claim. What could probably give them a better light to come up with a fair assessment of the relatives’ claims is a full public disclosure of the results of the investigation conducted by the special task force created to probe the mall fire incident.
The people would have known if this claim of “ship abandonment” by the “captain” really happened. But since only the filing of cases against certain individuals found to be potentially liable for the occurrence of the deadly mall fire is made public, then there would be no way of validating the allegations of the victims’ relatives against the Davao-based SSI top gun.
Meanwhile, let us all wait for the cases against those public officials and corporate executives to proceed. We also hope that its deliberation by the courts be transparent even as we look forward to seeing the cases establish the true culprits of the deadly incident including culpability of corporate executives like that SSI man, if any.
This is the only way to prevent people from entertaining doubts as to the cases’ outcome and obviate the possibility they will suspect a whitewash.
There is one thing we have noted in the final draft of the IM4 Davao, the tagline for Davao City’s Infrastructure Development Plan until 2045.
And we are extremely happy about that aspect of the plan that jibes with our long-espoused idea of dispersing the development of the city this big in land area and population.
We are specifically referring to the Spatial Development Strategy being adopted by the city planners.
Under the said strategy the city looks forward to converting itself into a poly-centric structure from its present mono-centric development scheme.
It also intends to foster unique district centers; to combine adjoining districts of the city as one large city center with the end in view of converting Toril district as the second city center for Davao.
Yes, as we have written in several columns of ours in the past, we are for the opening new roads in the city outskirts all leading or providing access to the different centers of the city’s political and administrative districts.
We believe that by doing this scheme the city’s main urban center will be decongested as future business and industry locators will be enticed to move to other accessible areas. As this scenario evolves new development enclaves will rise and economic activities will not anymore be just confined in the city’s main urban area but in the new rising commercial centers like Toril, Mintal, Calinan, Buhangin, Bunawan and Lasang.
As a consequence, job opportunities will be opened in the city’s new suburban centers thereby moving throngs of job seekers from downtown to the burgeoning outskirts.
In other words, should this spatial development strategy materialize, the city’s present urban population will slowly but surely decongest. So is its worsening vehicular traffic situation.
Yes, go on with that strategy and move fast enough while we have a Davaoeno President.

Posted in Opinion