CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama designated yesterday a City Hall lawyer to head the Cebu City Transportation Office

(CCTO), the youngest department head to be named in his administration.

Lawyer Raphael Christopher Yap, 28, will head the newly created CCTO, which will implement the policies and traffic rules approved by the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) and the City Council.

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Among its other tasks and functions, the CCTO will conduct the transportation planning process to come up with short-range and long-range traffic management plans for the city, and enforce all city ordinances related to transportation and traffic in order to minimize congestion in all the city's streets.

Although the office has yet to be set up, Yap said he will start working to make sure Ordinance 2239 or the “Ordinance creating the Cebu City Transportation Office” is fully implemented.

“It's too early to say what changes will be made. I first want to assess the department, what can be improved and what can be changed... Mayor Rama wants CCTO to be a department that is not feared, but one that is respected. We want our traffic enforcers to be visible, in the sense that people know that traffic rules will be implemented,” he said.

Yap assured his office will be transparent, and that complaints against corrupt traffic enforcers will be addressed.

For his part, Citom Executive Director Arnel Tancinco, who earlier said he would apply for the position of CCTO department head, assured he will help Yap in the transition of the Citom office into CCTO.

“The first thing to do is to train him on traffic management and, together, we will be orienting ourselves on the new functions of CCTO,” Tancinco said.

He would not say yet what position he would assume in CCTO, since the new office and positions available will still have to be approved by the Civil Service Commission.

Citom Board Chairman Sylvan Jakosalem welcomed Yap's appointment, saying it is better that a lawyer will head the new


In his news conference yesterday, Rama said being a lawyer and having sat as a member of the Citom board, Yap is capable of managing CCTO. He announced Yap's appointment during a news conference, but said the official communication will still follow.

Yap, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University School of Law, holds the position of Attorney III at the Office of the City Legal Officer. He also sits as a member of the Technical Working Group of the City's bids and awards committee for goods and services, an alternate member of the Citom Board and an alternate member of the Motorcycle for Hire Regulatory Board.

Under Ordinance 2239, the department head is tasked to provide technical and administrative supervision over the personnel under the department, to coordinate with the Citom Board and other offices to ensure effective and efficient implementation of traffic and transportation management measures, among other tasks.

Also yesterday, the Citom board members agreed to intensify the saturation drive on motorcycles-for-hire, particularly in

congested areas in the city.

Jakosalem said they will focus on clearing Barangay Lahug of motorcycles-for-hire, particularly at the corner of Salinas Drive leading to Barangay Busay and at the corner of Sudlon going to Beverly Hills Subdivision.