Counterflow ban gets capitol okay

GOV. Hilario Davide III is amenable to replicating the no counterflowing measure implemented by Mayor Tomas Osmeña in Cebu City in the province since it aims to instill discipline among motorists.

“Of course I’m in favor of that. The problem here with our drivers is they lack discipline. Not just in Cebu City, but all parts of the province,” Davide said.

However, there will have to be exemptions, he said, like emergency vehicles and vehicles on two-lane roads.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7, for its part, is interested to know how Osmeña plans to implement the measure and how this can be replicated in other areas if it becomes successful.

LTO 7 Director Victor Caindec reminded motorists that counterflowing, especially on national roads, is equivalent to reckless driving.

Based on LTO’s joint administrative order 2014-01, motorists who are caught reckless driving face a fine of P2,000 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second offense; and P10,000 for the third offense.

Caindec said he supports Osmeña’s move as it aims to prevent accidents.

“For as long as it is done with due process, and that it isn’t discriminatory to motorists, then it’s okay with us,” he said.

In another development, Osmeña supports the proposed measure that will allow local government units (LGU) to regulate the operation of motorcycle taxis in their area.

He said LGUs have a better grasp of the traffic situation and needs of their constituents.

Once this is implemented, the National Government can just monitor and withdraw the authority from the LGUs should it find the latter’s measures ineffective.

“Very clearly, the National (Government) has no idea since ‘no’ is all they say. When you have 2,000 LGUs, you can solve it well because they can always exchange ideas. The National can also cancel their right to do so if they abuse it,” Osmeña said.

Cebu City North District Rep. Raul del Mar and Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano VI (Cebu, 5th district) have also proposed letting LGUs solve traffic concerns at their level.

Under Republic Act (RA) 7160, or the Local Government Code, only tricycles are recognized by law as public utility vehicles (PUVs).

The second amendment del Mar filed in the House committee on transportation is to remove private motorcycles from the list of vehicles that are not allowed to operate as PUVs under Section 7 of RA 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

Once the measures are approved by the committee, the congressman said these will be forwarded to the plenary for the second and third readings before it is submitted to the Senate.

At City Hall, Osmeña reiterated that while motorcycle taxis may not be as useful in other parts of the country, it is a growing reality in Cebu.

The mayor made public two months ago his plans to hire Angkas’s consultation and management services.

With this, he said it could be an opportunity to regulate them to avoid untoward incidents.

This would mean that the partner-motorcycle drivers would no longer remit 20 percent of their earnings to Angkas, as the City Government would shoulder the expenses.

Osmeña said it was his response to the appeals of students and workers to let the motorcycle ride-booking transportation service continue its operations in the city.

He added that once this is realized, motorcycle taxi drivers will be encouraged to join Angkas, and that the City Government will have better control on them.

A public hearing on the issue has been proposed by the Congress committee on transportation. The date, though, has yet to be finalized.
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