CAGAYAN de Oro City's traffic czar said he needs more traffic enforcers to untangle the road gridlock.

Edgardo Uy, head of the city's Task Force Hapsay Dalan, said the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) has only 215 regular workers, 130 of which are assigned in the field in two eight-hour shifts.

"We have personnel who are on job order basis but their number depends on budget availability," Uy said.

He did not say just how many more enforcers he needs to clear the choke points in the city.

Uy said the number of enforcers detailed at specific intersections is determined by the volume of vehicular traffic or the average number of road users.

At the Claro M. Recto-Corrales Avenue intersection, Uy said he has three enforcers working two shifts.

At the DV Soria area, there are 20 enforcers on two shifts.

With the start of classes, Uy said he expects more motorists and commuters especially in areas near universities and schools.

He said one way to avoid road congestion is for motorists and pedestrians to shed their bad road habits and to obey traffic rules.

The problem is that people often complain when traffic enforcers get "too strict," he said.

"When we get too many complaints from motorists regarding one traffic enforcer, sometimes we are forced to replace him," he said.

A nine-year-old study by the University of the Philippines' National Center of Transportation Studies in Diliman puts the number of vehicles in Cagayan de Oro at about 40,000. More than a third are public transport vehicles.

The same study noted there are thrice as many unregistered PUVs as there are registered ones.

Uy also said the ordinance pertaining to trisikads or bicycle-powered rickshaws that commonly ply inner city roads also need to be enforced.

Ordinance 10551-2007, better known as the Traffic Code of Cagayan de Oro, bans trisikads from entering Barangays 1-40.

Uy said barangay officials, some of whom are trisikad operators themselves, often tolerate the trisikads in their barangays.

In the long term, Uy said there is a pressing need to upgrade the city's road network.

"The city's roads can no longer cope with the increasing volume of road users," he said.

"The major challenge really is to upgrade our roads to fit the volume of users," he said. (LA Corrales)