MOTORISTS in southern Cebu were stranded for up to three hours starting at 10 p.m. last Tuesday because of traffic build-up attributed to the annual fiesta in Barangay Pitalo in San Fernando.
Jonathan Tumulak, Cebu Provincial focal person for traffic management, told SunStar Cebu that the gridlock lasted until 1 a.m. yesterday.
Mayor Neneth Reluya blamed barangay officials in Pitalo for failing to coordinate with them regarding traffic and security preparations for the event.
But Pitalo Barangay Captain Ludovico Iligan said that traffic in the barangay is common due to the lack of an alternate road.
“Bisag magcoordinate pami, traffic naman gyud na ang Pitalo bisag dili pa pista (Even if we coordinated, there’d still be traffic because there’s always traffic in the barangay even when there’s no fiesta),” Iligan told SunStar Cebu yesterday.
The barangay was celebrating the feast of St. Vincent Ferrer last Monday and Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the mayor admitted that she and Iligan are not on good terms politically.
Tumulak said the traffic worsened around 10 p.m. due to a number of factors, including the holding of a benefit disco and a “peryahan” on both sides of the road. Vehicles were also parked along the sidewalk, forcing the crowd to walk on the highway.
The unfinished road project in between Barangays Pitalo and San Isidro also contributed to the slow traffic flow, Tumulak said.
However, local police and personnel from the town’s local disaster risk reduction and management office were there to ensure that the traffic moved.
Following a consultation with local officials and police yesterday, Tumulak suggested that close coordination between the municipal government, the barangay and the fiesta organizers should be observed.
“If there’s an activity that will affect traffic on the national highway, organizers must coordinate with the LGU and the police a month before so they can prepare,” Tumulak said in Cebuano. (JKV)