Rough Cuts | Needed at the airport: Better public rest rooms

About one half of the front page of this newspaper in its last Monday’s issue was dominated by a picture of a traffic signage mandating for a 20-second loading and unloading activity on certain sides of city roads.

The signages are installed on designated yellow boxes by the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) of the local government of Davao City.

We do not know if a serious study has been conducted before arriving at the decision to impose that time limit to load and unload passengers of public utility vehicles. But certainly, common sense will tell any right-thinking passenger and driver that the 20-second limit cannot be achieved without sacrificing the safety and convenience of the riding public.

It is a given that the putting up of yellow boxes along certain sections of city roads also connotes instruction that the riding public wait for utility vehicles in areas where these are located. Hence, the likelihood is that people will be converging in these places to wait for their ride. Given this situation drivers will also be competing for space in those yellow boxes to pick up and unload passengers.

Will the 20-minute time limit suffice especially if there are a number of passengers alighting or boarding the vehicles? Our experience says it is not enough, far from being sufficient; more so if we have to add the level of discipline of most drivers and passengers of public utility vehicles.

We therefore believe that the 20-second loading and unloading time limit could end up into being one big joke. Of course it would be a different story if the CTTMO knows that it simply is not workable; that the signage’s real purpose is just to instill into the consciousness of the public utility vehicle drivers and the riding public that they have to hurry up or face the consequence.

But whatever it is that has prodded the CTTMO to install such instructional signage we hope that primordial in its consideration are the safety and convenience of the riding public.

***

Last Sunday we were almost one hour ahead of the arrival of four visitors from the United States who flew in via Cebu. The estimated touchdown of the plane was 9:05 a.m. but we and the wife were already at the airport waiting area at about 8:20 a.m.

Since we were on our way to the church that morning for the 6:30 a.m. mass in Calinan when we received the call of the advancing of the flight schedule, we did not take anything for the stomach. So we started feeling the crunch as soon as we arrived at the F. Bangoy International Airport waiting area.

We found the 45-minute time window enough for us to take light breakfast. So we did as dictated by our stomach. After taking our morning meal we decided to “unload” the liquid accumulated inside our bladder. No, not inside the comfort room of the coffee shop where we took our breakfast but in the public rest room located near the gate of the airport parking area.

To our consternation we found the public CR far from ideal to cater to people using facilities that are offered supposedly by an international gateway. No, it is not that dirty as many of us might be imagining.

However, the public CR sucks in terms of its physical condition. The nuts of the wash tubs are detached and nowhere to be found; the doors of its cubicles are destroyed. Some that to us, and perhaps to other rest room users, are trash are being dumped in a corner inside the rest room. And yes, the facility is not what is expected of an area that forms part of the compound of an airport that Davao City prides to be globally competitive.

Of course the conditions of rest rooms inside the airport terminal building are totally different. These are clean and presentable to users. Meaning, the management is taking a great deal of effort to make the rest rooms at par with the airport tag — an international gateway.

Unfortunately, such discrepancy in the level of maintenance of rest room facilities inside the terminal building and those outside somehow betrays discriminatory treatment of people. Air travelers and terminal building users enjoy the luxury of having A-1 rest rooms. But the public that sends off or meet visitors are provided the opposite kind of amenities.

If at all, this should probably be a compelling reason for the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) now under the watch of our former boss at Davao Light Art Milan, to vigorously pursue for the conversion of the F. Bangoy International Airport into an International Airport Authority.

We can be certain that once the Davao International Airport becomes an independent entity that can run itself minus the clutches of bureaucratic red tapes, this gateway of the city can truly become the airport that many would desire to use whether as air travelers or as senders and welcome parties of visitors to Davao and its surrounding provinces and cities.

Posted in Opinion