Editorial: Meeting on traffic must have substance

IT’S probably the best move after Saturday’s monstrous traffic jam in Talisay City and Minglanilla town that spilled to the City of Naga on one end and Cebu City on the other end: meet. At least that was what Rep. Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas promised to do with officials of concerned local government units (LGUs). Gullas represents the first district where Talisay and Minglanilla belong. And this is probably what Gov. Hilario Davide III will do when he gets back from Manila.

It would be wrong for concerned government officials to think that the sooner people will forget their sad experience last Saturday, the better. Some officials there actually consider as good strategy the act of keeping themselves scarce from the media so as not to extend the discussion of any problem in their jurisdiction. But people need answers to questions and to know what their officials are doing.

Meetings, though, can only be good if what would be discussed would be substantial. If Gullas makes good his promise to meet with officials of the LGUs concerned, that would not be the first time he met with them to discuss the same topic. He did so months ago but the result wasn’t compelling. They ended up talking instead about the construction of new roads going south that haven’t materialized yet.

Meetings are only effective if the people attending it are knowledgeable of the problem, which means they should at least have gathered facts from those who are in the field and consulted with experts, in this case, on traffic management. Last Saturday’s traffic gridlock can be a good case study only if it would be dissected in depth and not by the less informed and less experienced.

On this, it would also be good for the officials to skip the usual talk about too many vehicles on the road and the promise of building another highway to ease the pressure on the Cebu South Road. Focus on what should be done in the here and now and on solutions that can be easily provided by the LGUs concerned.

In short, make the discussion informative, technical and professional. If not, the meeting will again be as empty as the one called months ago.
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