THE vehicles of two motorists caught obstructing a pedestrian lane and entering a no-left turn area in Cebu City last Tuesday were impounded by the City Transportation Office (CCTO).
However, CCTO Operations Chief Francisco Ouano said the vehicles were released on the same day after the owners paid the penalty of P500.
“We released them as per instructions of the mayor,” he told reporters yesterday.
Why were these vehicles released and not impounded for 30 days like those of drivers caught counterflowing?
According to Mayor Tomas Osmeña, unlike counterflowing, obstruction of pedestrian lanes and junction boxes does not necessarily have malicious intent.
As of yesterday, around 400 motorcycles, 30 private cars, 10 taxis and eight public utility jeepneys have been impounded for counterflowing.
“If you get caught in the pedestrian lane because you thought you can make it through but you got the red light, it’s not necessarily deliberate. You were just not careful. But counterflow is bastusan (foul play) already. Impounding is there because that is a deliberate, malicious intent to defy the law,” Osmeña said.
This, however, does not mean that the CCTO will be lax in its enforcement of traffic rules, especially in keeping pedestrian lanes and junction boxes clear.
The mayor has proposed doubling the existing penalty of P500 for obstructing pedestrian lanes and junction boxes.
The adjustment, though, must first be contained in an ordinance that will be filed at the City Council for deliberation.
Only after the draft legislation is approved can the CCTO enforce the doubling of fines for violators of the traffic regulation.
Since the bureaucratic process may take time, Osmeña said he will just continue to monitor the social acceptability of recent changes in the city’s traffic management.
“I can’t put all kinds of restrictions on violations because we can’t implement it. I’m concentrating now on counterflow, but we’ll double the fine to create a deterrent. We don’t want to double it, but making it affordable is useless. I don’t want anyone to violate,” he said. (RTF)