From bad to worse

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By Noel G. Tulabut

My Palm Notes

Friday, December 6, 2013

FROM bad to worse. It’s getting worse.

I really don’t know what higher authorities are doing about it. I am talking about sand and gravel trucks that are parked on the newly expanded portion of MacArthur Highway from Tabun, Dolores and Mamatitang area – all in Mabalacat City.

They continue to increase every week, as if no one is doing something about it.

I believe that Mayor Marino Morales has already issued a memo ordering the local police to apprehend violators as parking on a portion of a national highway is considered illegal.

The trucks—all with but heavy tonnage of sand and gravel – continue to pound the pavement. Need I say more that they are destroying government property that were funded by hard-earned money people’s money that were levied through taxes, Need I say more that they continue to pose as traffic hazards, hampering not only smooth vehicle flow but also putting lives and limbs in grave danger?

There must be a concerted effort to put a stop to the growing number of trucks that amass on the outer lane of the said highway. And here’s my appeal to the concerned agencies of the government:

LGU MABALACAT. Put up that truck terminal soonest. It’s been about five months since I wrote the new set of officials where I have proposed that facility. I have not heard since of any concrete action.

The terminal will be a two-pronged approach to solving the nagging problem. One, it will be revenue source for city coffers. Two, it will also solve the passway fees issue as collection will be centralized thereat. Above all, you remove the trucks that are parked along the busy highway.

In order to discourage the drivers of these trucks from parking along the highway, the LGU must also regulate or prohibit the establishment of vulcanizing shops and eateries that have mushroomed along the portions where trucks would make pit stops for those kind of services.

These kind of vending and service should be in place though at the proposed truck terminal, thus, provide some source of livelihood for locals who are interested.

I really do not know who among the elected officials of Mabalacat has the authentic concern over the health and safety of LGU employees and teachers and students of the Community College and public high school nearby.

Do they not see billows of dusts (and smoke) created by sand hauling and blown by these trucks? I wish to see someone in the City Council step up and lead towards solving this health and environment problem.

Please don’t give me the “I-am-here-to-legislate” crap. You were elected to lead and lead you must not only in writing something on paper. Besides what has happened to my proposal? Where is your legislation now?

Maybe Mayor Morales should appoint a quarry and traffic czar at this point.

THE CAPITOL. I believe that the Environment and Natural Resources Office is mandated to enforce policies on the utilization, vending and transport of mines in Pampanga like sand and gravel. Mabalacat City is still part of the province last time I checked.

I call on the ENRO to also help in putting a stop on illegal parking of these trucks, reminding them of the laws governing quarrying and hauling. I tell you now that a lot of the haulers are in violation of such if you could only monitor well.

For one, they transport sand while water still flows and drips from their trucks. This means they pound even more the highways with extra tonnage from water-soaked sand. I traverse the Macrthur Highway and they are not uncommon to see.

If Mabalacat City cannot put up the truck terminal, maybe ENRO should look into doing so on its own.

Governor Lilia Pineda, I am sure, wants only an orderly way of conducting business in the province that would protect the welfare of all concerned vis-a-vis public order and safety. In fact, at one point she already inspected possible location for a weighbridge. Maybe Enro should also expedite the construction of such too.

PNP/LTO. I really do not know why the local police has not made significant moves that should have helped in discouraging drivers from parking on the highway.

The haulers must have been taking them lightly (or probably just smirking and laughing on them). That is why the violations continue to grow. I pass by areas where these trucks amass so often and I still have to chance upon them making some apprehensions on a sustained basis. There could have been some flag downs of trucks but the unabated illegal parking should serve as a challenge for them to do more.

I’m calling on the attention of Camp Olivas officials (the LTO included) now to send another group to do the apprehensions. I see a combined periodic local police and LTO operations on motorcycles. Perhaps they should extend the operations on illegally-parked vehicles along the highway, especially sand trucks.

Quarry operators and haulers. Please do your share in helping Mabalacat City keep its environment well. You are in a multi-million peso industry where Capitol estimates that revenues will run up to about a billion peso annually.

Some contribution for a dedicated access road (from quarry sites to highway) or road clean-up where you could shovel displaced sand on highway would not hurt your pockets.

Also, please get rid of those elongated trucks with about12 to 16 wheels on rear side. Our highways especially the corners and intersections (like the Pobalcion-Sta Ines intersection) were not designed for long trucks. Every so often those long trucks get stuck negotiating tight corners to the consternation of other motorists.

No amount of beautification conducted by the City Government through GSO head June Magbalot would suffice if all those ornaments and aesthetic features put up by them just covered by thick dusts blown all over by sand hauling.

Quarrying and mining alone is not a problem. Transporting sand and gravel that destroy roads, snarl traffic, pose danger to lives is. And it has been like this or even getting worse.

I want to see concerned agencies get their acts together.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 07, 2013.


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