SIX more weeks before Christmas and we can already feel the yuletide spirit in the air. Major shopping malls particularly along C.M. Recto Avenue are experiencing the usual above-average vehicular and foot-traffic. People are busy with their early Christmas gift shopping to take advantage of the discounts offered by most establishments. Major streets are busy even on weekends. Indeed, the holiday season is just around the corner.
Christmas rush in Cagayan de Oro translates to another carmageddon especially in areas where shopping malls and markets are located. We have experienced this before and yet we have not seen significant improvements over the years from the people responsible to ease the traffic condition during the holiday season. It is also imperative that security in crowded places must be intensified. Shoppers have become easy targets of snatchers and pickpockets not only in markets but also inside shopping malls.
Responsive police personnel should be visible in areas where people converge. And as expected, prices of basic goods and commodities started to increase.
Local trade officials must watch over these unscrupulous activities to protect the masses from those who will benefit of the holiday shopping rush.
Going back to the anticipated worsening traffic condition of Cagayan de Oro as we draw near the holidays, we have yet to heard any plan of action from Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) as to how traffic flow will be addressed during the Christmas rush.
Was there any dialogue between the local city government and mall operators to carry out not only traffic contingency plan but also security preparations? Perhaps we can take que from what they do in Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities wherein poorest eventualities are anticipated in order to come up with measures that are beneficial to the general public. Or better yet, we can mirror the initiatives undertaken by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in coordination with other line agencies such as DPWH, DILG, PNP and mall operators in which several action plans were crafted and are now implemented:
1. Shopping malls to adjust operations by 11 am, an hour later from the usual 10 am opening time, during weekdays;
2. Deployment of additional mall security personnel to facilitate long lines of vehicles going inside mall parking areas which cause bottlenecks;
3. Removal of obstructions on loading and unloading bays in the vicinity of shopping malls;
4. Limiting deliveries of non-perishable goods only at night-time or from 11 pm to 5 am;
5. No weekday sale policy; and
6. Temporary suspension of road reblockings along major thoroughfares, except government flagship projects and/or during emergency cases.
So, if these are implemented right now in Metro Manila, can our city government create our own contingency measures to lessen the same problem we experienced before?
Likewise, let us encourage the assistance of civic organizations and other concerned government agencies to help unburden the Kagay-anons during Christmas rush. Paging Cagayan de Oro City Government and other concerned agencies (RTA, LTO, PNP, DTI, etc.), to take actions in addressing the miserable reality during holiday season here in our city.
Let us make this year a better, worry-free atmosphere to feel the Christmas spirit in our community and for our fellow Kagay-anons.