On behalf of our trees and our children: PRESS STATEMENT ON DPWH FLYOVER PROJECT:

Heartfelt Gratitude

In behalf of our narra and heritage trees and our children, the Ateneo de Davao University expresses its deep gratitude and sense of relief that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) flyover project is suspended.

We cannot emphasize enough how much we value our trees in the city, open and green space for clean air, urban heat, and climate change, especially and particularly in this age of pandemic when public health, especially of our children is topmost priority.

We are in solidarity with the business and private sector in ensuring that our city remains conducive to economic activity as we grow our urban ecosystem.

Spirit of Cooperation

We do recognize that the worsening traffic situation in Davao City needs to be addressed.

We believe that the problem lies beyond road networks and expansion. When 8 out of 10 vehicles on the road are private cars, while 8 out of 10 people on the road are public commuters1, we see that the solution is not only more roads but less cars.

We support the Transport Masterplan of Davao City which aims to promote an efficient mass transport system and a walkable and bikeable Davao City.

We laud the City Government’s efforts in implementing the Bicycle Ordinance of 2010 beginning with the delineation of bike lanes last year. Let us each do our part in keeping the biking community safe by respecting the bike lanes and persons/pedestrians-on-wheels.

As a University, we remain committed in our Research and Engagement and in collaborating with our national and local government and civil society partners in mapping out a Sustainable Davao City.

Inspired In Caring For Creation

We gain inspiration from Pope Francis in Laudato SI when he spoke of the “disproportionate and unruly growth of many cities.” He said, “We are not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass, and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.”

When this pandemic is over, we are eager to welcome our children at our gates and let them enjoy once again each others’ company under the shade of our trees.

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis says, that there is no end to the building of a nation (in this case, our Davao home), where at the center lies the human person and the common good.

Let us together work towards the common good: a life of integral ecology in the city. Here in Davao, we say “Life is Here” — We might also say: “Sustainable Life is here.”

(SGD) Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J.

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