CEBU

Bzzzzz: What happens after PB declared 'traffic crisis' in Cebu province?

CEBU. The traffic enforcer (in white shirt) feels helpless as vehicles pile up along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City after the malfunction of the traffic light system on Tuesday, August 13, 2019. (Alex Badayos)

PEOPLE talk about...

[1] TITO SOTTO'S 'ZIP IT' AS MEMORABLE AS AVELINO'S 'WHAT ARE WE IN POWER FOR?' Then Senate President Jose Avelino in 1949 said the most infamous words in the country's political history, "What are we in power for?" It was condemned and remembered for its arrogance and insolence of public officials wielding power.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, or what he said, may be remembered for a similar haughtiness of power when he lectured on the right of the Senate to investigate "anything under the sun" and "for those who are not familiar with Senate rules, my message is to zip it."

Not as colorful as "Magbuot mo" or "Pagmayor una mo," but Sotto's "Zip it" (for "Shut up") may survive time.

[2] MEMENTOS CJ BERSAMIN WILL KEEP. What will be given as part of the retirement perks of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin: the Philippine flag, SC pins, timepiece, seal, photo album, book of decisions, pen, brass shingle, ring, statue of judicial excellence, judicial robe, plaque or recognition, and the Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos Award. Hey, did they forget the gavel in that list?

At home, occasionally Bersamin can wear his judicial robe and embrace the flag and hold up the of his decisions, intoning "My God, I love my country and all the decisions I wrote."

Meaning, effects of declaration

The Cebu Provincial Board Monday (October 14) declared a traffic crisis in the province of Cebu, citing "inconveniences and health risks."

PB Member Glenn Soco of the sixth district, sponsor of the resolution, cited a Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) study that losses attributed to traffic in Metro Cebu have "reached an estimated P1.1 billion." (No details were given about the study, the period covered and how the amount of the losses was spread.)

What immediately struck Capitol watchers were these questions that news reports didn't say:

[1] What is a declaration of a crisis and how does it differ from a declaration of state of calamity?

[2] Are effects of a declaration of crisis the same as those of a declaration of a state of calamity, which primarily loosen the purse strings of an LGU, meaning some restrictions on spending are relaxed or lifted?

[3] What happens now that a crisis on traffic has been declared? What can

the province do that it couldn't do before?

It's probable that the resolution merely sought to highlight the traffic problem so as to lend urgency to Capitol's request for

Congress to act on bills aimed to solve the traffic problem nationwide. It may also be a way of telling the province constituents that the Capitol recognizes the crisis and will finally do something concrete and effective.

Distinguished from 'calamity'

Can the traffic crisis not fall under "calamity" so that it will be covered by Republic Act #10121, just like any other disaster?

"Calamity" is defined by law as natural or human-induced disaster; so it is not limited to typhoons, earthquakes, landslides, and the like.

The law however imposes requirements, under which a crisis like traffic may not qualify, such as 15 percent of the population needing assistance and 30 percent of the livelihood or business being disrupted.

And what would happen if government leaders declare a crisis out of each problem that rises, such as water crisis, corruption crisis, and illegal killings crisis?

***

Tell us about it.

[paseares1@gmail.com]


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