By Cha Monforte
A goose city that serves Samal Island
Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario might just have a far-reaching vision- the Samal Bridge too far. OK, it been long officially justified that the bridge can spur massive development to the island.
“But it’s not free, how much is its toll fee?” asked Vice Mayor Al David Uy, who’s family is long friends of Ronald Bangayan, owner of Mae Wess ferries. It might cost more than the P10 ferry ride at present.
The vice mayor categorically said he is in favor of the bridge, but he just have a lot of questions. Another one is, will authorities first develop infrastructures inside the island before the bridge, or put up the bridge first before the infras? “It’s like a chicken and egg question.”
That’s only for the future, folks. Meantime, IGACOS Councilor Alberto Ortiz enjoys riding a ferry or short sea trip as the island is so near to Davao City in the first place.
He fears about the influx of squatters, settlers once the bridge is there. And come to think on how to dispose their additional wastes, and provide land to accommodate them.
A community organizer Jojo Tejano charges that the the IGACOS city government has been ejecting people from island’s coastlines through the years using the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) as a legal cover.
He claimed that Samal shorelines have been cornered by the rich and developers leaving no public beach for the islanders to swim on freely.
But the city government has been penalizing beach resort owners for their over-water structures to implement its position for an open access to shorelines and foreshore areas.
Really, there’s no such thing a free lunch. There should that toll fee for every passage of person or vehicle in the bridge. Constructing the Samal Bridge costs a lot- P6 billion, which could be instead use to solve the problem of lack of classrooms in typhoon-ravaged provinces.
But then, there’s only heavy traffic of people going to the island during the weekends, and what to do with the bridge during the rest of the days? Is the bridge really that feasible with that traffic?
Samal Island for this present epoch – while on the road to recovery from typhoon Pablo- can be left to its being just an island. The bridge is just not necessary. It’s an island so interconnected to the workings of Davao metropolis. And here’s the goose.
The goose metropolis, Davao City that is, has been there serving well the island. It’s been laying the golden eggs for Samal. If foreign tourists have been visiting in greater number to the island in the recent years, it’s because Davao City’s tourist operations center has been including the nearest Samal Island as a lush beach and eco-tourism destination.
If the island has been massively trekked on now by people mostly from Davao City especially during weekends, it’s simply because it has the nearest and still unpolluted beach resorts, and by now it has already many swimming facilities- pools and the sea with breakwater- to choose from.
It’s not only coins for videoke but also dollars converted to pesos that have been left in the island each time outsiders and people from Davao City and nearby provinces go there.
So there, Samal Island has been looked up as a part of the city than a part of a province. Proximity often defines the interconnectedness of one urban place to another. The magnetic pole of a larger city is boosted by how far it serves the market and populace of its neighbors.
Because Davao City is a metropolitan city and it has all the products and services that people need, naturally it benefits more from the patronage of its neighbors. Samal’s market is ever dependent on the goose city of Davao, that’s just a 15-minute lantsa or ferry ride from its unpolluted beaches. (@chamonforte, @ruralurbanews)