Wanted: New laws to help clear our sidewalks

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - August 2, 2019 - 12:00am

Yesterday I saluted the Department of Public Services (DPS) in Cebu City for introducing a laudable program for the poor people begging in our streets. They are offering them food if they help DPS clear up our rivers and esteros that many unscrupulous Cebuano citizens turned into a dumping ground. We know too well there are many beggars asking for money in our streets so they can eat, but we also know it is their way of making money to feed their children. So it is indeed laudable that food is being offered by the DPS to the poor for offering assistance to the DPS.

But if this program is to be successful, I would suggest that the poor should not just be offered food for their work, but salaries should be paid to the ones who believe that doing this type of work is a stable job for their family. After all, Cebu City has the money to pay salaries to those who work for the city and, yes, one of the problems in Cebu City is that too many people live beside our rivers, creeks, and esteros and turned it into a garbage dump and we need to clean their filth, otherwise this garbage will clog our rivers, creeks, and esteros and when the rains comes they flood our streets. So call this a win-win situation where Cebu City helps its poor people while clearing our drainage of debris.

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I read that Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has started to clear public roads of obstructions even without the order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government. Indeed, with or without the DILG order, it is the duty of our city officials to clear our streets of any possible obstructions. Ask yourself, you usually complain about our traffic congestion, if not our fellow motorists themselves.

During our rush hour (as if every hour is not a rush hour!) which is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., it pains me to see cars with their blinking emergency lights turned on because they are buying something and thus blocking our roads. Mind you, this is a very bad and ugly habit of nearly all motorists who think that by turning on their emergency signals, they are allowed to stop their cars and do whatever they want. These mindless people should go to a mall, so they can park their cars properly rather than block our roads and get the ire of many motorists.

At this point, I would like to suggest that the city council come up with an ordinance penalizing the use of emergency signal lights for illegal parking. I hope our councilors recognize this reality, which for me is a brazen lie to our traffic enforcers.

Another ordinance that we ought to pass is the one penalizing funerals corteges that block our roads. Yes, if there is any reason why traffic is bad in our national roads, especially on Sundays, it is because many funeral corteges slow down the traffic because the mourners walk behind their dead when each municipality can actually provide them with vehicles to ride to the cemetery! This is why I fully agree with Governor Gwen Garcia when she said it is the mayor of each municipality or city who should handle the traffic problems, not the governor of Cebu.

Meanwhile, back in Cebu City, I would like the PROBE Team to look at Villalon Road, which has many stores on the side of the road. Most of these stores have their products displayed where the sidewalk should be located. In short, they have arrogated that space as if they owned it and motorcyclists who buy from them park their bikes already on the road.

Finally, what do we do with chapels or kapilyas that have been placed along the sidewalks and used for wakes and thus the people supposedly grieving for their dead have to sit along the road because the really have no other place to go? I would like to believe that finally the time has come for the Catholic Church to help relocate these kapilyas to places that no longer block our traffic. Hey, we need to help each other fix our traffic problems so I would like to believe that the Cebu Archdiocese should also help in this. We should also include those people fixing tires along the sidewalks.

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