Espinoza: Cebu City needs iron-fist rule on road users

Espinoza: Cebu City needs iron-fist rule on road users
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Cebu City’s traffic mess could never be given a facelift, so to speak, unless and until the traffic laws, ordinances, rules and regulations are strictly implemented without fear or favor to impose discipline on all road users.

Discipline is the key to an orderly road traffic. Of course, improving or adapting the latest traffic lights and monitoring system is imperative to keep up with the changing times. As the years go by, the number of motor vehicles increases as the population grows.

Consider that Cebu City Councilor Rey Gealon, who was appointed chairman of the Cebu City’s Traffic Management and Coordination Committee (TMCC) a few months ago after former chairman Rico Rey Holganza resigned, tendered his resignation days ago to Mayor Michael Rama, who had just arrived from an extended vacation leave in Melbourne, Australia.

Notable among the reasons Gealon mentioned in his resignation letter, which he shared with Sir Cheking Seares, was that he was not able and capable of performing the job. But to me there is more than meets the eye on his sudden resignation since he said “too many cooks spoil the broth.”

So, who does Mayor Rama have in mind as the next chairman of TMCC? Or, if he is not so busy, perhaps he could sit in while looking for someone that Councilor Gealon described as “another who is more able and capable” and carry out on how he wants to improve the city’s road traffic system.

I do not think Councilor Gealon was sour graping when he stated that one of his reasons for quitting was that the unanimously approved TMCC resolution could not be implemented down the line. I am sure the young city councilor is much aware of how government bureaucracy works. City ordinances become nada when politicos interfere with their implementation.

Discipline should not only begin with the road users and public utility vehicle drivers or operators, but should also start with city executives, officials and those down the line. I have encountered on several occasions Cebu City-marked vehicles driven by undisciplined and abusive drivers that I believe are City Hall employees.

I beg to disagree that “scarce resources” could be one of the factors in the untidy management of the city’s road traffic. The city has plenty of traffic enforcers, only that they are not well supervised. Imagine, four enforcers directing traffic on a T-intersection road.

Perhaps, Mayor Rama could borrow, if not copy, the awesome traffic lights and monitoring system of Cebu City’s sister city, Kaohsiung in Taiwan. In my five-day stay in Kaohsiung while attending the Rotary Institute, I did not see any traffic enforcer or cops minding the traffic but the motorists, bikers, cyclists and pedestrians alike obeyed the traffic rules.

Gealon even blatantly described the current city’s traffic management as a “dismal lack of traffic system.” Admittedly, traffic education of all road users, strict enforcement of the traffic laws, rules and regulations, and consistent traffic engineering are wanting in the present administration. And there are several busy intersections in the city not installed yet with the modern or latest traffic lights and monitoring system.

Cebu City’s traffic ordinances in correlation with the national traffic code abound and are more than enough to make the city streets sane and safe for all road users. The only problem is the lack of consistency in the enforcement of these city traffic ordinances.

To achieve an orderly road traffic, Mayor Rama needs an iron fist, just like the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, to strictly enforce the city ordinances.

Happy New Year!


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