Wanted: A truly competent traffic summit
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - June 25, 2019 - 12:00am

In The Philippine STAR the other day, the chief of the Philippine National Police has been cited for a traffic violation. Police General Oscar Albayalde disclosed yesterday that he received the citation last month from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority for two violations; one for ignoring a traffic sign on yellow lanes and the other for ignoring the regulations on the use of the lane along the southbound portion of EDSA near Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong.

However, Albayalde clarified when he was interviewed on “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News channel that the incident cited in the violation occurred in February last year, after he had already sold his converted gray Nissan Skyline that figured in the yellow lane incident. So in the end, it was only the car with Albayalde’s name that was cited for violations by the MMDA.

Albayalde also told the MMDA that the new owner would have to settle the MMDA fine of P500 --P150 for disregarding the traffic sign and P350 for the yellow lane violation because he was not driving the car, but the new owner.

The PNP chief noted that some of the spots where no-contact apprehensions are being implemented are impractical and leave no room for periods when motorists are compelled to take measures to avoid heavy traffic in Metro Manila. Apparently the MMDA has already gone on a no-contact apprehension scheme, which is very good and just like what most nations, especially in Europe, are already doing.

According to the news reports this year, some 377,429 traffic violators were apprehended by the MMDA from January to May through its no-contact apprehension --361,714 more than the 15,715 violators in the same period in 2018. The MMDA attributed the increase to its intensified efforts to discipline motorists on major thoroughfares. At this point, all I can say is we in Metro Cebu cannot have this type of no-contact apprehension scheme simply because there is no MMDA organization being pursued in Metro Cebu.

I can’t wait until July 1 when the new local government officials take office as the new leaders, and I certainly hope that they would all join the MEGA Cebu Group in order to come up with traffic schemes that would truly solve our daily traffic congestion problems, and many people expect that the new political leaders must solve their traffic problems.

I already wrote my piece on solving the traffic problems in my column yesterday, but it needs the help of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte who should call a meeting of all non-life insurance companies because, in my book, there are just too many of them and it takes forever for them to solve small and minor accidents involving motor vehicles.

I should know, my car was bumped last year and I decided to let my insurance company pay for the accident although the record shows that it wasn’t me who caused the accident.

Like I said, in most western cities, like in London, when two cars get into an accident and small minor dents are caused, the vehicle owners merely show their insurance certificates and exchange phone numbers because they know that their respective insurance companies will settle their problems. Unfortunately, even with our knowledge that it costs motorists in Metro Cebu P1.1 billion a day thanks to our traffic congestion, no one, not even the government, is doing anything to solve this problem.

Actually, this issue should have been a main topic in traffic summits, but unfortunately government groups conduct traffic summits but do not actually find ways to solve issues like what to do when a motorcycle hits a car, and we know too well that the motorcycle owner cannot afford to pay for the accident. So at this point, we really need an honest-to-goodness traffic summit that can truly give lasting solutions to our traffic problems.

* * *

I would like to join the Philippine entertainment industry in mourning the loss of stalwart actor Mr. Eddie Garcia who was 90 years old when he succumbed to cervical vertebrae fracture when he tripped over something while filming a movie. He never regained consciousness after he was hospitalized. Garcia won several awards for Best Director and Best Actor, the latest from the Gawad Urian for his performance in the film “ML” as a retired Metrocom officer. Garcia was literally a living legend and he will certainly be missed.


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