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Letter to the Editor: Big challenges for a big (Davao) city”

Dear Mindanao Examiner Editor,

I am writing to express my concern towards a very important health problem that maybe hasn’t been addressed yet with the necessary intensity. I am referring to the noise levels that we have to endure daily, especially those who live in certain areas of the city. The World Health Organization continually warn of the dangers created by this problem, which aggravates diseases and produces a high number of deaths, especially when noise exceeds 60 decibels.

I am a neighbor of Palmetto Place who has the misfortune that his windows are oriented towards a hardware and a gas station recently opened and that generate excessive noise too often. On July 10, 2019 was the first anniversary of the opening of the gas station. To celebrate, its owners had the idea of ​​”entertain” everyone all day (from eight in the morning) with a session of “music” or repetitive noise that undoubtedly exceeded 100 decibels if not more.

I was trying to work at home, and after a couple of hours of the “free concert” my head was about to explode, so I went to ask the manager of the gas station if the activity was authorized. He answered that they had a verbal authorization from the barangay and that the neighbors “only” have to endure this activity once a year (as if the anniversaries could not be celebrated in another way, without bothering anyone).

I wondered as well if the Departments of Labor and Health have something to say about the damage to which the very young workers of the gas station were subjected for the whole day, working just a couple of meters from the loudspeakers.

Davao is proud of having tackled with excellent results and very little or no disapproval at all other public health problems such as tobacco and alcohol. Davao has its own and clear anti nuisance ordinances. My proposal and my plea to the current municipal authorities is that Davao not only should implement these ordinances, but might champion the fight against excessive noise in the Philippines by initiating a campaign against excessive and unnecessary (often “ornamental” or “baroque”, I would say) use of horn on the part of drivers in general and those of motorcycles, taxis and jeepneys in particular. Undoubtedly, a reduction in noise pollution would not only make the city much healthier and livable for its residents, but also much more attractive to the tourists who visit it.

I’d like to use this message as well to mention another foreseeable public problem if construction works are not stopped on Ma-a road, just in front of our subdivision. A contractor has the delirious purpose of building two huge residential blocks on a slope of high ecological, functional and aesthetic value and that has presented problems of erosion during the last years. It seems that some people have not learned from the lessons of the landslides of the hillsides of Shrine Hills, so I trust that our municipal authorities, DENR and other authorities make it clear that public interests will prevail over particular interests, and that the health of the citizens is infinitely more important than the economic benefit of a few.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Jose R. Macias
Palmetto Place, 702 Piedmont Bdg. Maa rd. 8000 Davao City



P.S. I enclose some photos illustrating the problems mentioned in my letter.

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