AFTER the contracts of half of its manpower were not renewed earlier this month, Cebu City’s traffic office said it will be a challenge to meet the traffic situation during the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.
Raquel Arce, head of the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO), said this given the scale of the festival, where hundreds of thousands of tourists and devotees flock to the city even days prior to the Sinulog day for both religious and
Arce said currently, there are only 300 traffic enforcers left from the original number last year, which was at around 600 officers.
“There is really a great effect, but what I keep on telling them, those that still have jobs that ‘you are lucky that you are still here’ because you are performing well, so they should double their performance,” she said.
Last August 2023, Alfredo Loresto, CCTO operations head, hinted that there will be a traffic management problem, if the number of traffic enforcers then which to him, was already “not enough” will be slashed.
He said it could hamper the daily traffic management operations in the city.
This after Mayor Michael Rama announced during the flag raising ceremony on Aug. 14, 2023, that he plans to trim down the number of Cebu City Hall employees from 9,000 to 3,000 before his term ends in 2025.
Arce said as an “intervention,” they have partnered with universities in Cebu to enlist criminology students as traffic force multipliers, who will receive credits as part of their internship programs.
She said so far, approximately 100 criminology students from the University of the Visayas have committed to assisting CCTO in managing traffic. Meanwhile, the University of Cebu will also participate; however, she has yet to determine the total number of interns.
“They are really needed. You know the attitude of our motorists; if they do not see any traffic enforcers, they will likely violate traffic laws,” she said.
Arce said the students will be of great help to them given the challenge of a reduced number of traffic enforcers. While they cannot issue citation tickets to violators, they will partner with CCTO employees.
Each traffic enforcer deployed in the field will be paired with five student interns, said Arce.
“They already know what to do,” she said, adding that most of the students have had previous experience in traffic management and directional control.
Arce said aside from certificates issued in exchange for grades, the students will get meals throughout the day and complimentary shirts that will serve as their uniforms.