THE ROADS OF DAVAO ORIENTAL
It was a long drive from Panabo City (Davao del Norte) to Cateel municipality in Davao Oriental, that town which was ravaged by storm Pablo, a successor to killer howler Yolanda. Like what happened in Leyte, Cateel and its environs were virtually flattened to the ground. Nothing was spared. But unlike Leyte, Cateel and the rest of Davao Oriental had one quality which all provinces in the country cannot defeat. It has an excellent road ways.
By excellent I mean, there are no pock marks, cracks, crevices, deadly gaps, lethal fissures on its roads except two bridges which are under slow reconstruction by national government. Local government has showed the world that without corruption, a place could retain its integrity amidst the worst of natural disasters. It is still a motorists’ haven and no one can take that away from the province. They had the best local chief executive in the person of Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon. It is not surprising that Gov. Malanyaon would receive the commendation as the best governor award in the country.
The travel by land was swift and smooth. It was a pleasurable 6-hour drive. From the capital city of Tagum up to Cateel, site of the famous Aliwagwag falls , dinosaur island and Mount Hamiguitan, the zig-zag and rolling through mountainous terrain, all motorists may have been impressed with its best kept and maintained thoroughfares. A small crack is instantly leveled with asphalt. There are no surprise flaws.
I attended a confab of young journalists (Regional Schools Press Conference) in Cateel municipality and I was expecting a devastated place. I took the South road a few months ago passing through Leyte and I already had an idea what a howler could do to a community. It was a comparative revelation. I found Cateel almost rehabilitated and although there were marks of calamity in the mountain side and farms, the people has literally stood up to the challenge of restoring their place. Local government has a lot to do and of course, the competence of its political leadership.
It was refreshing and an awesome experience on the road and my belief in government restored with how it managed and governed that humble province of Mindanao facing the deadly roar of Pacific Ocean and its treacherous waves on a daily basis.
On the whole, it is noteworthy to accomplish visiting that eastern locality where the morning sun makes its first and initial burst of sunlight of the day in the country.