Espinoza: Traffic Department!

Free Zone

CONVERTING into a department the traffic enforcement and management (Team) office of Mandaue City, which is under the Office of the City Mayor, is the right move to professionalize and enhance the City Government’s services on traffic since the city has been the center of the traffic problem in Metro Cebu.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas C. Cortes announced this development on Monday during his State of the City Address (Soca) held at the City Sports Center. Complementing this plan is his announcement to hire 300 traffic enforcers who will man the city’s most congested roads and intersections.

The current 200 traffic enforcers of the city are not enough to be in places where they are needed. It’s not only in the hub of Mandaue City where traffic is really bad. But traffic is also not good in the alternate routes in barangays outside the city center, especially where there are no assigned enforcers to man the traffic and apprehend undisciplined drivers.

Of course, it’s not just the numbers. The additional 300 traffic enforcers that the city will hire should undergo appropriate training in manning and directing traffic as well as teaching them the right attitude in apprehending traffic violators. And more importantly, they should be beyond corruption.

Some of the basic factors that cause traffic congestion are the undisciplined drivers of public utilities and private vehicles, especially the habal-habal drivers, who think they are kings of the roads, that they do not obey and observe traffic laws, rules and regulations. These drivers think they can go past the traffic enforcers who are armed only with citation tickets.

The effective way to discipline unruly and disobedient motor vehicle drivers is to enforce the traffic laws to the letter without fear or favor. And politicians should leave this job to the traffic enforcers and the police to avoid a mockery of our laws, rules and regulations.

You know, when elected government officials intervene on behalf of the apprehended traffic violators, who were perhaps their political supporters or benefactors during elections, this could open the floodgates to corruption. Traffic enforcers would now have second thoughts on reporting the apprehensions and instead settle the matter using their clout. Crooks and undisciplined drivers when apprehended would right away dangle money to the traffic enforcers and the temptation is there especially in this time of great need. I’m not saying that everyone could just be corrupted. There are still persons who are true to their calling.

The plan of Mayor Cortes to upgrade the traffic enforcement office of the city into a department, that I’m sure has the full support of the City Council, led by Vice Mayor Glenn Bercede. It can be easily achieved and will improve the economic standing of the traffic enforcers and, in a way, prevent corruption.

The present number of Team’s traffic enforcers, which is under the Office of the City Mayor, is restricted by some budget rules and regulations and the Commission on Audit (COA). Once Team becomes a department, it could hire more enforcers and they will be receiving salaries of regular government employees.

As to how this is going to happen soon largely depends on the City’s mechanics and how fast the City Council could craft the city ordinance. Congratulations, Mayor Cortes!


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