Is Cebu ready to have an MCDA?
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - September 22, 2015 - 10:00am

Last week the officials of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board pushed for the creation of the Metro Cebu Development Authority which originally was supposed to be the Metro Cebu Traffic Authority (MCTA) designed to unify the Traffic Command in Metro Cebu, which I submitted during my stint with the Cebu City Traffic Operations and Management  to Rep. Raul del Mar.

Yes, way back in October 2009 during the First Cebu Traffic Summit, the stakeholders we invited already wanted a unified traffic system under one command for Metro Cebu. But somehow, our political establishment failed to recognize the need and desires of the stakeholders who then went along merrily by themselves and in the end, look at the traffic in Metro Cities of Cebu today. Traffic jams are now costing Metro Cebu by the millions of pesos in wasted time, fuel and efficiency.

This proposed MCDA would cover all the cities in Metro Cebu up to the town of Compostela in the North and in Carcar City in the south. However, as the proposal goes, this is not to be for traffic management only, but it is going to be a clone of the Metro Manila Development Authority.  So the question I'd like to pose to MCDB officials is whether the MCDA would follow the lines of MMDA, which includes garbage disposal.

While the Japanese International Cooperation Agency  is pushing for the enactment of a law to create the MCDA, however I suggest that JICA and our Filipino counterparts ought to research on whether MMDA has been good for Metro Manila? Take for instance the MMDA's total control of traffic in Metro Manila…especially the traffic snarled EDSA, just a couple of weeks ago, MMDA enforcers were replaced by the Philippine National Police Traffic Command Group and two weeks later, somehow traffic in EDSA has eased to tolerable standards.

So in short, MMDA fell short of their mandate to handle traffic in Metro Manila, which actually worsened under their watch and in the end they were replaced by the Traffic Command Group. This incident should be factored in our research so that we can come up with a better MCDA, rather than just simply copying the MMDA in toto! Corollary to this is a question on whether we should just demand from the PNP to handle traffic in Metro Cebu. The problem is that, the Traffic Command has very few men here.

Meanwhile, the PNP Traffic Command is contemplating an increase in fines for traffic violations to the consternation of our public utility vehicle drivers and operators, especially jeepney's. This has always been a struggle in traffic enforcement, which more often than not is sympathetic to the poor jeepney driver who cannot afford to pay stiff fines.

On the other side of the equation, people ask, "Why don't these people simply obey traffic rules? I totally agree with these observations, but year in and year out this problem was never solved even in Congress. For many years, I have always batted for a merit and demerit system for Philippine Driver's licenses similar to what the traffic authorities in Europe or in the US have. In the US, they call it "Strike Three, you're out!" which was used because of America's love for baseball.

Alas, the problem of this country stems from the fact that whenever we have a new president, even the head of the Land Transportation Office is given to political appointees who know nothing about the LTO. A case in point is when Pres. Aquino appointed his shooting buddy (kabarilan) Virginia Torres as head of LTO. Who was Virginia Torres in the LTO hierarchy? She was a low positioned LTO official, not even a regional director and suddenly she was thrown to head the LTO. So we cannot expect a low-ranking LTO official to come up with reforms for the LTO.

Like all her predecessors in the LTO, they usually just run the day-to-day affairs of the LTO and take a look at what's happening in LTO today. There is a serious lack of plate numbers, which tells you that the LTO officials could not even sit down with the various car dealers to find out how many new cars they expect to sell this year.

Then there's the case of the plastic Driver's License, which gives you an idea of how incompetent our LTO officials are because they cannot even anticipate the huge number of new drivers for the coming year? I renewed my driver's license last May and when I went to the LTO office last week, they said it wasn't there yet. What incompetence!

So back to the question… is Metro Cebu ready to have an MMDA or should we merely stick to my original plan to have a Metro Cebu Traffic Authority. Again we need to research this properly and I hope that the people behind MEGA Cebu or MDCB should come up with a traffic summit so we could all come up with the right decision for Metro Cebu.

* * *

For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

vsbobita@mozcom.com

CARCAR CITY CEBU CEBU CITY TRAFFIC OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT LTO METRO METRO CEBU METRO CEBU TRAFFIC AUTHORITY METRO MANILA TRAFFIC TRAFFIC COMMAND VIRGINIA TORRES
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