Davao coastal road attracts huge crowd; distancing protocols breached

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 January) —  Local authorities here are reviewing measures to ensure an orderly visit at the Bago Aplaya-Talomo section of the Davao City Coastal Road which has been attracted a large crowd since it opened last Friday,  breaching  physical distancing protocols. 

Retired Police Lt. Colonel Angel Sumagaysay, head of the Public Safety Security Command Center (PSSCC), said in a text message on Saturday that some adjustments would be made to ensure that the minimum public health standards would be observed. 

“We are still adjusting for the proper setting as we are overwhelmed by the crowd. We will be designing the lanes for bikers and walkers/ joggers,” he said.

The Bago Aplaya-Talomo section of the Davao City Coastal Road has been attracting a huge crowd since it was opened last Friday for walking, biking, playing, jogging, exercising, and skating. (Photo courtesy of IAN RAY GARCIA)

The five-kilometer Bago Aplaya-Talomo section is the first phase of the 18.50-kilometer Davao City Coastal Road project. It is open from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The scenic coastal road, opened initially for walking, biking, playing, jogging, exercising, and skating, cannot be accessed yet by motorized vehicles.

Dean Ortiz, Public Affairs and Information Officer of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office said this junction is not yet passable to vehicles as  construction work is still ongoing to connect Talomo and Bago Aplaya.

Ortiz said Talomo and Aplaya are not yet connected. He sent no response when asked about the target completion of this Bago Aplaya-Talomo section.

Sumagaysay said in an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Friday, that security personnel observed that several people had failed to observe the protocols there.

He estimated around 400 residents visited the coastal road last Friday. 

Residents troop to Bago Aplaya-Talomo section of the Davao City Coastal Road since it was opened to the public for walking, biking, playing, jogging, exercising, and skating last Friday. (Photo courtesy of IAN RAY GARCIA

He reminded visitors to strictly observe the designated lanes for bicycles and joggers. The children’s playground and skating rink have yet to be opened to the public as construction work is still being completed, according to him.

“The street was filled with people. They were so happy but our security forces became exhausted with having to remind them,” he said.

He added that local authorities hope that people would learn to follow the protocols by themselves.

He said the local government recognizes the importance of mental wellness but added that he hopes the people would not break the guidelines on the minimum public health standards, particularly the wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and bringing their sanitizer to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. 

“Later on, we want them to practice discipline and observe these protocols without having to remind them for the common good of the people who go there to exercise,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina / MindaNews)