RELIGIOUS and cultural activities that will require the use of Cebu’s major roads may soon be regulated.

Jonathan Tumulak, Cebu Province’s focal person for traffic management, said he is working with the Provincial Board on one draft ordinance to regulate such activities and prevent traffic accidents.

An official of the Archdiocese of Cebu said he favors regulating the use of major thoroughfares for religious and cultural purposes.

Tumulak told SunStar Cebu he is working with PB Member Edsel Galeos on a proposed ordinance after seeing, based on the traffic in Minglanilla and San Fernando, the need to balance religious and cultural traditions and the convenience of the riding public.

Better planning

He received complaints about traffic that built up as a result of religious activities such as processions and funerals, and those related to cultural activities, such as street and ritual dancing competitions.

Tumulak said that through the proposed ordinance, he hopes organizers of religious and cultural activities will learn how to coordinate with their local governments and include traffic management in their preparations, so that commuters won’t have to suffer.

Aside from religious and cultural activities, also included in the proposed regulations are establishments that create obstructions on the highways such as vulcanizing shops and motor repair shops, among others.

Tumulak said that the proposal will be presented in a public consultation once the PB takes it up.

In a separate interview, Msgr. Ruben Labajo of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral told SunStar Cebu that he agrees with regulating religious and cultural activities that use major roads.

Labajo, episcopal vicar for the Archdiocese’s Metro Cebu first district parishes, said cooperation and coordination are needed to ensure that religious activities don’t disrupt others.

“Sabot-sabot ra man unta na sa mga hingtungdan. Kami sad dili sad mi gusto nga makasamok sa uban, mao nang mopahigayon rami sa among mga kalihukan based sa availability sa dalan (All concerned should agree and work together. We don’t want to cause others any inconvenience, which is why we schedule our activities based on when the roads are available),” Labajo added.

Tumulak also appealed to information officers in the municipalities to inform the Capitol about fiestas, processions and similar activities, at least a month before the big event. That way, incidents like the three-hour traffic gridlock during the fiesta in San Fernando would be minimized.

Offices can be assigned to help during the occasion such as the traffic management and disaster control units, Tumulak said. He also suggested that organizers post on social media any activities and the corresponding traffic changes, so that those who plan to travel can consider rescheduling or taking other routes away from the anticipated celebration.

Tumulak said that PB Member Galeos’ draft may be completed within the month and will include the coordination of sectors such as the church, chapels, and senior citizens’ organizations.

Those busy roads

The proposed ordinance may also cover other uses of the roads, such as drum and bugle practice, vigils, car wash operations, and vulcanizing shops.

Citing data from the Land Transportation Office, Tumulak said in in 2017, 181,000 additional vehicles were registered in Cebu Province, of which 134,000 were motorcycles.

He estimated an increase of 3,000-5,000 new registrations each year, and said that he personally favors raising taxes on the purchase of vehicles, a matter covered by the newly implemented tax reform law.

Owners of vehicles should also acquire their own parking space, Tumulak added.

Another options local governments can consider, after consultation, is raising the penalties for illegal parking. The Local Government Code authorizes and requires local governments to regulate uses of roads in their jurisdictions. (Jazzy Lyle S. Samson, CNU Intern)