Road traffic can be solved through politics
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - October 22, 2019 - 12:00am

A good friend of mine and fellow believer in the federalist state, the late senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr. passed away last Sunday after a few days of illness. He was 85 years old. I last interviewed him on June 6, 2019 on my talk show “Straight from the Sky” about the benefits of having a federal government. They considered Nene the Father of the Local Government Code.

But during my interview with him, he admitted that it was a concession he agreed with then president Cory Aquino rather than embrace the Federal system of governance. In truth, Aquino didn’t know anything about governance; it was her close political allies who refused to accept a federal system. One great thing about Nene Pimentel Jr. was he was a Cebuano speaker and so whenever we interviewed him, he always spoke Binisaya. Finally we have a Bisaya running this government with no less than Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte. Pimentel will surely be missed. May we ask our pious readers to please pray for the repose of his soul.

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In the old days, my family would drive to Carcar to visit my Tita Vising, the sister of my father who worked with St. Theresa’s College with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In those days, Carcar was only a 40-minute drive from Cebu City, so driving to Carcar every Sunday was an enjoyable drive.

Well, last Sunday, I drove my car to Barili, just eight kilometers from Carcar and it was time for me to assess the traffic situation by driving there. First off is Minglanilla, it is high time to accept the reality that there are just too many streets that cross the national road. That means tricycles, trucks, or jeeps are one of the principal cases of traffic congestion in Minglanilla. In my book, there are three approaches to solve this traffic problem in Minglanilla. First is to put plastic dividers in the middle of the road to stop all vehicles from crossing the street and, like what I told Gov. Gwen Garcia, put a major U-turn slot two kilometers away and this will solve the traffic congestion there.

Lest you already forgot, traffic management means, solving the traffic through the three E’s; enforcement, education, and engineering. If we spent on engineering in Minglanilla, it would mean putting a kilometer-long overhead pass, just like what they have in Ayala Alabang. Next stop is Naga, where we had a long traffic congestion. The problem there is almost similar to Minglanilla, but worsened by tricycles crossing the streets. Stop those tricycles and the traffic problem is solved.

Finally we arrived in Carcar and traffic was exceptionally heavy, thanks again to the numerous tricycles that ply the national roads even if they were not allowed. So the solution really is for our politicians to rid our national roads of tricycles and that’s the solution to the traffic problem in Carcar. Mind you, as I wrote earlier, going to Carcar was a 40-minute trip for our family. But last Sunday, from my house to Barili, it took me a harrowing two-hour drive to get to my destination. In fairness, driving back to Cebu City from Barili took only an hour and forty minutes because there was less traffic at 3:30 p.m.

At this point, I must tell you that the two-kilometer stretch to San Fernando has now been widened, but traffic was bad simply because the tricycles still use the middle of the road, which means most of the traffic has to tailgate behind them, when they could actually move to the side of the road. In short, the E for education has not been taught our motorists, especially tricycle drivers. If these drivers refuse to be educated, then they should suffer the other E which is enforcement of the rules of the road.

Finally, on my way back, I took photos of the trees by the side of the road, which posed a safety hazard to motorists. I’m thankful that the Court of Appeals in Cebu City has dismissed the petition filed by lawyer Benjamin Cabrido Jr. to stop the cutting of all roadside trees covered under what he claimed as an “illegal and invalid” administrative order. I look at them as safety hazards. But I am with Cabrido not to cut the acacia trees that are found as we enter Carcar. DPWH should find another route and preserve those trees.

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