Thursday, June 27, 2019

Editorial: Tripling the fines

Editorial Cartoon by Joshua Cabrera

SO IT is not Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) head Francisco Ouano’s proposal for the Cebu City Government to triple the fines imposed on traffic violators but that of Mayor Tomas Osmeña himself? Not surprising. This is the same Osmeña who ordered the impounding of the vehicles of drivers who violate the rule against counterflowing.

This time, the targets are violators of traffic rules that have a minimum penalty of P1,000, meaning that the scope of the proposal includes many violations. Apparently, Ouano is so eager to apprehend violators and impose the bigger fines as suggested by the mayor that he wants to impose it now.

So like the man who was ordered by his boss to jump from a building and eagerly asked, “From what floor sir?”

“Now. I want to implement that right away. Motorists will follow traffic laws if the penalties are steep,” Ouano supposedly told reporters in Cebuano when asked when the mayor wants to implement the new fines.

Is that so?

Such a simplistic mind can never solve the traffic woes in the city. For one, the proposal needs an ordinance before it can be implemented. Secondly, who told him that if the penalties are steep our traffic woes would be solved just like magic? The problem is caused by a number of factors of which the imposition of fines is only one component.

Ouano did try to downplay the fact that the immediate effect of steep penalties for traffic violations is the raising of CCTO’s income. Not only that, it would provide a windfall for corrupt traffic enforcers as violators would rather pay a bribe of, say P500, rather than the P3,000 penalty.

Actually, our problem is less about fines but more on the strict imposition of traffic rules and regulations no matter how small or how steep the fines are. It is also about driver discipline because no matter how steep the fine if traffic enforcers are not around the undisciplined drivers would still violate traffic rules.

Which begs the question, has counterflowing stopped after the mayor’s high-profile rant against it and his order to impound the vehicles of violators?


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