ROUGH CUTS| The other face of the speed limit

WHAT’S happening over at the “Walang kasinungalingan, pawang katutohanan lamang” GMA television network?

Why is the network shutting down four of its regional offices resulting to the displacement of about a hundred of its employees and talents?

For the past many months the management of the television network has been claiming that it has locked in the number one position in the rating game. Of late it has even declared cash dividend to its stockholders of record. Interpreted simply, it means that indeed the network is earning and if it is earning then it is run and managed efficiently. So, why is the network now saying that the lightning like speed in streamlining of its programs and manpower is intended to “ensure business competitiveness”? Are its stockholders so insatiable that they seem still far from contented in the level of profit that the network now presently has in its existing operating structure?

And what is this so-called severance packages that the network is banding around to have offered the affected personnel? Why on earth do the packages come after the sacking of the employees and the program, not prior?

We commiserate with the affected employees of the GMA television station not only because they are media people like us but also because they were apparently kept blind of the network’s plan. The scheme literally provided meaning to the Cebuano phrase “gikulban ug kaldero”.

Honestly we are a loyal – almost fanatic – follower of the television station because of the fair and honest presentation of facts in its news programs. We also consider the network as the ultimate model of the so-called “employer of choice”. So, was the network honest in its dealings with its employees if they were not even advised earlier of the planned streamlining? To say the least, the network is not “walking its talk”.

Today our impression is getting tattered.

–ooOoo–

Our country is among those in the forefront of the global efforts to address the problem of environmental degradation. To back these efforts up we have laws passed to ensure that every Filipino does his share in the undertaking.

One of these laws is the Clean Air Act. At the local government level there are also ordinances aimed at addressing and implementing national laws like the one earlier mentioned.

But in Davao City there is an existing executive order of the city mayor that has the force of an ordinance. This is the imposition of speed limits to motor vehicles plying the city streets. For vehicles travelling in downtown roads the speed is mandated to be not more than 30 kilometers per hour (kph). MacArthur highway has a speed limit of 40 kph. Vehicles travelling on J.P. Laurel national road starting from downtown to the junction of the defunct Alsons Plywood factory in Lanang the speed must not exceed 30 kph. However, from Alson junction to Lasang boundary with Panabo City the maximum speed limit is 60. The same speed limit applies to C.P. Garcia diversion road from Panacan to Bangkal going south. All other highways going to Toril from Ulas and the Davao-Bukidnon road the speed limit is also 60 kph.

What has Davao City benefited from this imposition and what could be its negative effect on the city in other aspects, specifically in the quality of the air the people are breathing?

Honestly, the implementation of the speed limit mandate has substantially reduced the number of road accidents in the city since its implementation, especially those that resulted to numerous fatalities and serious injuries. If at all there are vehicular accidents, these are already minor and almost inconsequential primarily because the speed of vehicles is already minimized. Thus, the damage is more on the vehicles and not on pedestrians and passengers.

But how is this speed limit impacting on the environment specifically on the air quality in Davao City?

We are citing one relevant piece of information from an article in the famous Reader’s Digest which came out some years back to help us answer the question we raise here. Titled “Car tips for clean air” one of its recommendations to drivers or vehicle owners, is to drive in the “economy range” which is 55 to 70 miles per hour or between 88 to 112 kph when in open highways and in high gear. The reason advanced is that when running in that speed range the vehicle engine takes less petrol and produces fewer emissions.

Thus, in built-up areas like Davao City’s downtown where the maximum speed allowed for vehicles is 30 kph or roughly 48 miles per hour, the engine is assumed to be running in low gear. Therefore, the vehicle engine gobbles up more fuel and produces more emissions of toxic gases into the air.

So, in Davao City it is a case of “you go faster and you may get a ticket; go slower and you pollute”. According to the article, emissions are at their lowest at a constant speed of 60 mph or 96 kph. Unfortunately, this speed is not possible for vehicles moving around Davao City’s downtown. Thus, we have to live with the reality that the air quality in the city proper is deteriorating on a day-to-day basis because there are more vehicles running at low speed and consequently emitting more toxic gases.

Indeed, this situation puts Davaoeños in a dilemma. Both are not the best options.

Posted in Opinion