COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
Some people may complain about the distance of the new bus terminal from the downtown area or our residences but the new site is a good enough place for transient people to stay. Its only disadvantage is it is quite far from the Tacloban port area. But the distance from these two ports of entries into our city can be traversed with just one jeepney ride. Besides, there is not much daily entry and exit of people at the port area unlike that in Ormoc.
Presently, the new bus terminal appears to be out of the way but a decade or many years from now it will be within the center of a growing city. Tacloban is expanding, with more people coming in taking residences and businesses being put in place. The expansion requires land and the only land available is to the west of the heart of the city. So the expansion will be westward and eventually the present downtown area could just become a periphery of a greater Tacloban in the future.
The physical layout of Tacloban is that of a small town with two-lane streets for pedestrians and vehicles, and buildings built right beside the roads. So there is no more space for the widening of roads. In Ormoc and Catbalogan, the streets in their business districts look wider compared to the ones we see in our city.
An ordinance should be passed requiring business establishments to provide parking spaces for their staff so as not to occupy the roads as parking lots. Look at how some of our banks are being constructed; they have parking spaces either on the front, back, or sides of their buildings. These spaces not only serve as parking areas but as landscapes for the beautiful structures. Unlike these new high rise buildings built right beside the roads that look oppressive you simply feel constricted walking between them on the narrow streets of Tacloban.
At least the regional offices of our government agencies are now situated in Candahug, Palo. They have a nice place of work there with a lot of space, sun, and fresh air. Just imagine if all of these government employees still swarm daily at the heart of Tacloban. There would be more pollution and congestion.
Now we cannot avoid people from the towns and barrios from coming here. More students who only come here to study eventually find work here. While those who are assigned here to work in government and private enterprises try to acquire a house and lot in our sprouting subdivisions or any available residential areas for sale. And it incurs a permanent claim to land, a permanent claim to space.
With a permanent house to stay one buys a vehicle especially with those who commute daily to work. So there is not only an increase in the city population from reproduction but from inward migration, but also an increase in the number of vehicles plying our narrow streets. Heavily populated areas like schools, wet markets, and business centers should be spread apart.
Tacloban cannot anymore shrink back to its old set-up like the one I first saw in the mid 70s. Accordingly, people have to adjust to this process of expansion to maintain a peaceful and healthy city because congestion brings criminality, pollution, and traffic jams. There will be more rearrangements and restructuring of the “floor plan” and I hope our city planners will have the foresight to properly allocate the land and maintain ecological balance.
At any rate, the creation of Catbalogan, Borongan, and Baybay into new cities could somehow share the load of absorbing the people flocking to the cities in order to study, to find work, or to find a better life.