CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was in Manila when he ordered the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) to strictly implement the rule on counter-flowing of vehicles on city’s streets. Counter-flowing vehicles will be impounded for 30 days and their owners will have to pay storage fees ranging from P3,000 to P15,000. Among the vehicles that usually counter-flow are motorcycles.
Osmeña was in Manila for the House of Representatives committee on transportation hearing on the bill that imposes regulations on the operation of motorcycles-for-hire or habal-habal. He is a proponent of Angkas, the motorcycle version of Grab and Uber. He has also allowed habal-habal drivers to operate in the city despite the law against it.
Apparently, the mayor did some balancing act: defend motorcycles-for-hire in the House but warn motorists against excesses on the road.
But we have long seen how words can be meaningless in the long run. The traffic code in Cebu City has been there for years and among the least applied provision is, yes, the one against counter-flowing. We say, one among the many. So one can even ask, why counter-flowing only?
Counter-flowing is objectionable but so are the other traffic violations, like public utility vehicles picking up passengers in the middle of the road, or public utility jeepneys slowing down on a green light near intersections so the drivers can stop there to get passengers when the traffic light turns red. What about the rampant use by PUJs of intersections as virtual terminals?
Or if that is not enough, the mayor can do the rounds of city streets in the evening (he can start at the downtown area) to see how traffic rules are being violated with impunity during that time.
Going strict on counter-flowing is laudable if that is only for starters, meaning that the mayor would then proceed to the other traffic rules that are being violated rampantly by drivers. Limiting the act to counter-flowing, however, could invite claims by critics that the order could only be for show. And this: would the strict implementation of the counter-flowing rule continue after the eventual “sample apprehensions” are made?