The need to overhaul our transport systems
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - March 31, 2017 - 12:00am

The seemingly unsolvable traffic problems in Metro Manila and the rest of the country have our political leaders scratching their heads on how to solve this perennial problem. One of the major reasons why our drivers lack discipline is simply that they are not well educated on road courtesy and traffic rules. Yes, road courtesy is something that is terribly missing with the way our Land Transportation Office and the Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board have been doing their jobs for many decades now.

Their reason or excuse is simply that they do not have the personnel or the facilities to conduct their planned driver education for the public utility jeepneys (PUJ) or the professional sector, but this is also true for non-professional drivers.

One solution being proposed by partylist Rep. Salvador B. Belario, Jr. in order to help train jeepney or taxi drivers is for the LTFRB to ask the help of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which has certified experts on driving and automotive technology and training centers in many regions all over the country.

I have always maintained that both the LTO and the LTFRB should only be licensing and regulatory agencies. Educating drivers applying for a professional or non-professional driver's license should be taken away from the LTO and LTFRB and given not just to TESDA, but to government schools that would create programs for traffic education, which should also include training for traffic enforcers.

Of course this means an overhaul of the systems within the Department of Transportation. Just like what I have been harping all these years we really need a National Transportation Safety Board when it comes to investigating air, land, and sea disasters. Right now, when there is an aircraft accident, it is investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Some years back, there was a Cebu Pacific Airbus that landed in the Davao City Airport and veered off the runway and the very next day, a top CAAP official by his lonesome declared this incident a result of "pilot error". How could a top CAAP official make such a declaration when he was not in-side the cockpit when the accident happened? Mind you, that very same official also declared the crash that killed DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo in 2012 also as a pilot error, while divers were still searching for the plane, which was underwater in Masbate.

The same thing is also happening with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), which also investigates sea disasters. Yet these government regulatory agencies can also be partly responsible why a vessel flounders in rough waters because MARINA cleared the vessel even if it wasn't seawor-thy. To escape responsibility, they then blame the accident on the ship captain. So this is a major problem we have been facing under these government agencies with no solution in sight.

Let's go back to the Land Transportation Office issues. I dare you to apprehend a habal-habal driver, chances are high that either the motorcycle driver is driving without a license or if he has a license at all, it is a non-professional driver's license that he is using simply because it is easier to get a non-professional driver's license.

Our traffic enforcement groups like the Cebu City Transportation Office are no help either. Apprehending traffic violators is in a way educating these erring drivers. But when there is failure in enforcement, you will see anarchy in our streets! Just to give you an example about anarchy, all you need to do is drive from JY Square and turn right to the Doña Modesta Gai-sano Bridge on the way to Beverly Hills.

At both sides of the corner you will see habal-habal motorcycles. These are the same motorcycles that violate the no left turn signs simply because there are no traffic enforcers assigned to that area. In short, what is happen-ing in that intersection is a game of cat and mouse. Now who was it that suggested to legalize the habal-habals? I dare say that let that person stand on that intersection for an hour and he can see anarchy in our streets! The only bright spot in Cebu City's roads are those volunteers who keep the intersection open.

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