Protests result in traffic jam in Cebu | SunStar

Protests result in traffic jam in Cebu

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Protests result in traffic jam in Cebu

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Street beat. An estimated 1,000 persons rallied in parts of Osmeña Blvd. and Colon in Cebu City, protesting (among others) a jeepney modernization program, stagnant wages, a labor-export policy, and extrajudicial killings. (SunStar Photo/Amper Campaña)

DEMONSTRATING cause-oriented groups caused heavy traffic on some roads in Cebu City.

Cebu City Transportation Office operations head Francisco Ouano said that a portion of Colon St. was not passable to all type of vehicles shortly before noon Tuesday as the groups converged there.

Vehicles were diverted to Junquera St.

Thirty traffic enforcers were deployed on major intersections of Osmeña Blvd., starting from the corner of P. del Rosario, to supervise traffic flow while the activity was ongoing.

“After 45 minutes, Colon St. was accessible again since the group already proceeded to Plaza Independencia,” Ouano said.

The traffic forced some jeepney drivers not to ply their normal route. “We were stuck in traffic. For me, we couldn’t t do anything because we have to respect them,” Edward Matas, a jeepney driver, said.

Misil Pardo, a commuter, also voiced out her frustration as she disembarked from a jeepney. “It was an inconvenience because I have to go somewhere important,” she said.

More than 1, 000 members of cause-oriented groups from all over the Visayas joined forces for the Lakbayan 2017 yesterday.

Jaime Paglinawan, chairman of Bayan-Central Visayas, said that farmers, fishermen, drivers and laborers from different parts of Cebu, Bohol, Panay and Negros showed up.

“This just shows the discontent of our farmers, laborers and fishermen to the programs of the Duterte administration,” he said.

The groups were protesting against the labor policy, salary increase, extrajudicial killings, export labor laws, Lumad killings and jeepney modernization.

Cebu City Police Office Director Joel Doria said that the situation during the protest was normal.

“We maintained maximum tolerance and there were no untoward incidents,” Doria said.

He said that they also monitored reports that the protests were part of the destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

At 11:30 a.m., the groups, coming from the north and the south, converged in the middle of the intersection of P. Del Rosario St. and Osmeña Blvd. The groups then convened for their main program in Plaza Independencia.

The Lakbayan will run from Oct. 16 to Oct. 20.

In the afternoon, Ouano said traffic flow on Gorordo Ave. and Escario St. toward Fuente Osmeña was heavy due to a simulation exercise police were conducting at the Golden Prince Hotel.

Ouano said the road in front of the hotel had to be closed during the activity.

Ouano denied that they did not deploy enforcers at Fuente Osmeña, prompting former mayor Michael Rama to supervise the traffic in the area.

“Along the rotunda itself there is no enforcer because it’s not needed. But the intersection along a fast food chain and a diagnostic center, we have enforcers there,” he said.

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 18, 2017.

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