We need to implement traffic reforms now

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

I was invited to the public hearing conducted by the House Committee on Transportation chaired by Representative Cesar Sarmiento and held at the Waterfront Mactan Hotel last Saturday, which I thought was supposed to look into the emergency powers that President Rodrigo Duterte needed in order to push for the rapid solution to our traffic problems. Unfortunately, I had my gallbladder removed last Wednesday and I was only able to get out of the hospital by late Friday afternoon and it was quite discomforting to walk around, so I had to miss attending that very important meeting.

While I had a very good excuse not to attend that meeting, two important personalities, Cebu Governor Hilario "Junjun" Davide III and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña failed to attend that meeting for their own reasons. Instead, last Sunday; The Freeman came up on page 5 with a half-page First 100 Days of Governor Davide boasting to be the Department of Interior and Local Government awardee as "Top Performing Governor 2016." Of course that is understandable, except for the 100-days of the Duterte administration, most of the year 2016 was still under the leadership of those who espoused "daang matuwid" where friends of PNoy Aquino are given recognition just for their canine loyalty.

That the Cebu Governor would be glaringly missing in such a very important meeting to help decongest traffic in Cebu is proof of the pudding that Davide is nothing but a fake! A true non-performer! I'm not even connected with the government, yet my mind was hell-bent on attending that meeting, but unfortunately, Mactan is just too far for my comfort. 

So in the end, did they give Duterte what he wanted in terms of emergency powers to solve our traffic problem? Yes and no! Perhaps the reason can be seen from the personalities featured on the second page photo of last Sunday's The Freeman newspaper, where more than half of those who attended that public hearing, while they were giving out the now famous Duterte fist greeting, a good number of those who were there were yellow-blooded just a hundred days ago! Most of them proudly sported the "L" showing their loyalty to the Aquino family, until the very last.

While these people have to face their new realities, their heart is still stuck in support of Aquino under whose six-year leadership gave Cebu nearly nothing in infrastructure development. Just last September 20, this is what I rewrote about what PNoy gave, "At the LP's "Gathering of Friends" at the Cebu Coliseum last August 24th when President Aquino was in town to lambast his critics he then lied to us Cebuanos that he plunked in P23 billion for Cebu in the last five years. Well by now, everyone knows that after a meticulous count by Cebu news reporters, we all ended up a little over P2.2 billion in rehabilitation projects in the last five years under the Aquino Regime."

So now, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino announced a P170 traffic study for whatever it is worth. But if you ask me, the Department of Public Works and Highways should instead use those six months to mobilize the first flyovers that would be erected between the two bridges spanning the Mactan Channel we need. We need at least two flyovers for each bridge. I have already written volumes on how to solve our traffic congestion, but DPWH officials refused to listen and it is a fact that they are still the same officials under the yellow regime. So if they cannot find solutions to our problem, then it is crystal clear that they are the problem.

Mind you the time for studying was during the six-years of "Noynoying" that Cebu was placed during the Aquino regime. Today under the dynamic leadership of Duterte we expect him to move things. This means it is time to implement what needs to be implemented. As for his traffic study, this should now be focused on what type of mass transportation system that we should install. There are many schools of thought here. The most common is the Light Rail Transit system, which they had installed in Metro Manila. There are also tunnels that do not need Road-Right of Way (RRW) problems. The list is endless.

But if you ask me, emergency powers are needed to guarantee a smooth traffic along our road, which should be free from all sorts of obstruction. Funeral vigils on chapels built alongside the road should no longer be allowed nor should walking funerals cortege should be allowed in those major thoroughfares.

The same emergency powers should be slapped at motorcycle tire repair shops that are littered along the main roads. These are old practices, which most barangay officials merely look away because they are friends of these people who also help worsen our daily traffic. As for the suggestion of Tomas Osmeña not to allow private cars to cross the bridge at certain times, I challenge him to take the bus first when he goes to Mactan.

[email protected].

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