Police sent to N. Bacalso to help fix traffic ‘crisis’

CEBU. Officials and enforcers tested a traffic scheme on N. Bacalso Ave. during the weekend, near the underpass construction site in Mambaling, Cebu City (background). (Arni Aclao/SunStar Cebu)

TRAFFIC personnel from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) were deployed to help manage traffic on N. Bacalso Ave.

Senior Supt. Royina Garma, CCPO director, said that traffic group officers, including beat patrollers, were deployed last Saturday. She did not say exactly how many were sent out.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has requested for 40 police officers to help the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO).

This was in response to the heavy congestion brought about by the new road closure on a portion of N. Bacalso Ave. where the construction of an underpass entered its fourth phase this week.

“I’m asking, tabangi sad mi (help us) because we’re reaching, we’ve gone beyond our saturation point. We’re experimenting on all kinds of schemes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We’re encountering all these kinds of problems, but it can be alleviated simply by manning, having more people out in the field,” the mayor told reporters.

“We’re going to ask the police because she (Garma) said she pulled out 120 from the headquarters to put them in the precincts so maybe she could at least...because this is a crisis situation. The people are having a hard time already,” Osmeña said.

Garma said she instructed the police to help CCTO personnel from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. She told them to help clear intersections to keep traffic from building up.

In a separate interview, CCTO operations chief Francisco Ouano said that although moderate to heavy traffic was observed during rush hour yesterday morning, traffic eased by 9 a.m.

Police force’s effect

He said this was because police officers and tanods helped the 12 traffic enforcers assigned to direct traffic in the area.

“Nakatabang gyud sila og badlong sa mga public utility jeepneys, especially sa mga patakag hunong. Di gyud nato diha-diha mahipos, pero pinaagi sa police visibility ug mga enforcers, mahadlok gyud sila. Karun, critical gyud ni siya nga area (The police helped discipline jeepney drivers, especially those who stopped wherever they pleased. Police visibility and enforcers helped. This is a critical area now),” Ouano said.

Starting yesterday, police officers and traffic enforcers were deployed in key areas such as Tagunol St., N. Bacalso Ave. and E. Sabellano St. where traffic congestion is expected.

Ouano reminded motorists and commuters that all northbound vehicles will take one lane of the southbound portion of the affected area.

Southbound vehicles may continue to use the pocket roads on Flash Elorde St., E. Sabellano St., or on Tagunol St.

Trucks and buses, however, are still banned from plying N. Bacalso Ave. to prevent congestion.

Construction of the P638-million underpass project on N. Bacalso Ave. started last August 2017.

Election issue

In a public appearance yesterday, former Cebu City mayor Michael Rama said that if people want to solve traffic in the south district, they should “change the mayor.”

Rama recalled that during his term, the project was stalled and that he pointed out that before the public works department could work on N. Bacalso Ave., it should widen E. Sabellano and Tagunol first.

“Now we have a state of unbearable suffering beyond imagination. I cannot see competency in a project where we have to find our way every now and then. It has never been foreseen and I don’t know why they are not foreseeing it; it has to be answered and the answer will be 2019,” the former mayor said, apparently referring to the local and congressional elections. (RTF, KAL & Michael Rey Cortes, CIT-U Intern)


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