Task Force Hapsay Dalana to break jaywalking habit

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Sunday, March 2, 2014


THE implementation of the jaywalking policy with a corresponding fine and penalty in Cagayan de Oro City is intended to “break the habit” of its residents who got used to violating the existing traffic codes.

Lawyer Edgardo Uy, chairman of the Task Force Hapsay Dalan (TFHD), said jaywalking has become a habit of the citizens, especially during the weekend night café in Divisoria.

The night café was discontinued when Mayor Oscar Moreno became the city’s chief executive.

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Uy said during the night café, people crossed the streets anywhere they liked. Such erred street behavior became “the normal” in Divisoria.

“People got used to it. Previously, we conducted operations against it to correct such erroneous ‘normal’ but the people are hardheaded. They refuse to obey,” Uy said, referring to the jaywalkers.

Uy is hoping that the people will be more conscious of crossing using the pedestrian lanes to avoid mixing with the public utility vehicles’ loading and unloading areas where passengers get off.

Commotion

During the first day of the implementation of the anti-jaywalking policy, Uy said the violators argued with the traffic officers with excuses, mostly lame, hoping for pardon.

For instance, some violators argued that they did not know about the new policy and it was the first time they committed the violation, he said, adding that there was one who pleaded to forgive him because his wife is pregnant and they did not intend to violate the pedestrian crossing rules.

Shantilly Antipuesto, a high school student who got a citation ticket, was afraid when the officers called her attention.

Afraid when reprimanded of her violation, she realized that the policy has a long-term effect to the people in the city.

She realized the city would become orderly (hapsay) because the people will learn to follow rules due to fines imposed to violators.

Instead of paying the fine, Antipuesto opted to render service to the community for a day as her penalty for jaywalking.

Edchelle Rellama, a student at Xavier University who helped her friend pay the jaywalking fine, complained that first offense should warrant warning before imposing a fine.

Rellama suggested that first-time offenders should only be warned instead of paying P500 or obliged to render community service for a day.

Uy said commotion was expected on the first day of implementing the traffic codes in the city.

He disclosed that late Saturday afternoon, traffic enforcers gave citation tickets to around 150 violators, and 50 of them paid the fine of P500, while the others opted to serve their penalty through community service.

He admitted some pedestrians were shocked and angered by the new policy.

“Sa pedestrians naay mga kurat unya nasuko -- murag naa sa sala nagtabok-tabok bisag asa -- daghan klase sa reaction nga atong naobserbaran,” Uy said.

Strict implementation

Information drive had been conducted for more than a month already through tarpaulins and leaflets, among others.

Uy said those violators who claimed they did not know about the policy were just making excuses after they were issued citation tickets.

He said regardless of their excuses, the traffic enforcers have to implement the law.

He assured that everything they implemented is within the bounds of the traffic code.

Carmelito Deloso, designated overall supervisor, said that tickets should be cleared within three days, otherwise the violators will be charged in court.

Replication

The pilot project covers areas bounded by Corrales and Capistrano streets. It is also expected to be extended in Hayes street in the south and J.R. Borja in the north.

“We are giving ourselves up to June 2014 to complete the pilot area... We need to do some engineering in the outskirts of Divisoria, for example pedestrian lanes, updated signages, etc., and also do information and educational campaign there… Once we will have completed the Divisoria area project, and will have made a template already… This (project) will be replicated then in other major areas of concern,” Uy said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 03, 2014.

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