Editorial: Enforcers as part of the problem

Editorial Cartoon by Joshua Cabrera

IT DOESN’T take a genius to realize that traffic in the metro, particularly in Cebu City, has gone from bad to worse in the past few years.

The government has come up with several ways to address the problem.

It has widened roads. It has built flyovers. It has gouged out the streets to make “depressed” structures. To no avail.

In the case of the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO), it has tried to strictly enforce traffic laws. Last month, they got help from the Cebu City Police Office.

For two days, on May 27 and 28, 2019, the police and the traffic office conducted simultaneous operations that resulted in the issuance of over 800 temporary operator’s permits.

Even though most of these were for petty violations like wearing slippers while driving a motorcycle, some were far more serious like driving without a license or driving an unregistered vehicle.

Still, the violators are only part of the equation.

Perhaps, the government has been focusing on the wrong things to try and solve road congestion.

It has been quick to blame the metro’s traffic woes on the lack of infrastructure or on the lack of discipline of motorists. Maybe it should start looking at the people tasked to enforce traffic laws.

Last Wednesday night, June 19, operatives of the Waterfront Police Station arrested four men in a drug bust in Sitio Zapanta, Barangay Tejero in Cebu City.

Police identified two of the suspects--38-year-old Ervic Navarro and 40-year-old Francis Abe Mordeno--as casual employees of the CCTO for the last 15 years.

Their arrest has put the traffic office in a bad light, much to the chagrin of CCTO operation head Francisco Ouano, who described the incident as “deplorable (bati ilang gipakita).”

When Ouano found out about Navarro and Mordeno’s drug use as well as the two men’s extortion activities, he advised them to quit their vices and turn over a new leaf.

One thing is apparent, Navarro and Mordeno will not be manning traffic on the streets any time soon. But there may be others like them out there. Still.

Perhaps, it’s high time for traffic offices not only in Cebu City but in other local government units that compose Metro Cebu to look at the background of their personnel.


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