Official urges road discipline amid enforcer shortage, El Niño

Official urges road discipline amid enforcer shortage, El Niño

AMID the lack of traffic enforcers and the challenges posed by the El Niño-induced hot weather, an official of the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) has appealed to motorists to uphold road discipline among themselves.

CCTO assistant head Kent Francesco Jongoy, in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Thursday, April 4, 2024, reminded motorists to adhere to traffic signs and markings and avoid other traffic violations, even in the absence of traffic enforcers, saying it is crucial for their safety and for maintaining smoother traffic flow.

Caught on camera

SunStar Cebu sought an interview with Jongoy following netizens’ reactions to a contributed video posted on SunStar Cebu’s Facebook page. The video shows motorcycle drivers making U-turns despite the “No U-turn” signage along Gorordo Ave. corner Sudlon St. in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, on Tuesday afternoon, April 2.

Some netizens called out the violators, while the contributor noted that there were no enforcers seen manning the traffic or apprehending the violators.

Netizens commented that the area is notorious for heavy traffic congestion during peak hours. However, there have been instances where violators continued to make U-turns despite the presence of traffic enforcers in the area.

Some netizens suggested putting up fences, while others suggested equipping the city’s traffic enforcers with the Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOP) to deter these violators.

TOP is the ticketing system used by the personnel of the Land Transportation Office and its deputized enforcers that includes confiscation of the driver’s license and a higher penalty than the citation ticket by CCTO.

SunStar Cebu visited the area on Friday afternoon, April 5, and observed several motorcycle riders violating the “No U-turn” signage. Motorists coming from Sudlon St. or Salinas Drive were observed making sudden U-turns back toward Barangay Apas or Busay.

Traffic builds up along Gorordo Ave. corner Sudlon St. as it is the intersection that leads to inner residential areas exiting toward Gorordo Ave. and Salinas Drive.

The City Government has placed “No left turn” signs from Sudlon St. to Gorordo Ave. for enforcement from 6 to 9 a.m. and between 4 to 7 p.m. or during peak hours, which may have forced the exiting motorists to make the U-turn.

Motorists who want to traverse Brgy. Busay or Apas during peak hours have to take a longer route by turning left from Gorordo Ave. to N. Escario St. going to Archbishop Reyes Ave. before turning left to reach Salinas Drive.

Lack of manpower

Jongoy said the lack of manpower to station enforcers at major thoroughfares during peak hours remains a challenge for the CCTO.

He added that the intense heat of the sun, due to El Niño, has also limited traffic enforcers’ ability to man traffic in the middle of the day.

Jongoy said the CCTO has reduced the hours during which enforcers are exposed to the sun, and the Traffic Management and Coordinating Council is considering allowing their patrol vehicles to regularly distribute refreshments to the enforcers in the field.

The CCTO has around 400 personnel, including job order employees. Jongoy said this is a decrease from the 700-manpower count when he first joined the agency.

“Ideally we need more, considering that there are many roads in the city. What we are doing right now, we are encouraging the City government to quickly implement City Ordinance 2131 and our ordinance on road closure due to construction works,” Jongoy said during an interview with “Beyond the Headlines,” SunStar Cebu’s online news and commentary program.

Jongoy said that under these ordinances, it will not be the CCTO that will be responsible for managing traffic but the contractor in accordance with the traffic management plan, along with the assistance of traffic marshalls.

Modernization program

He added that the CCTO has not yet completed its modernization initiative, which includes installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and modern traffic lights in strategic locations. These measures will help manage and monitor daily traffic and identify violators.

He said the project is still under negotiation and review before the contractor can turn the project over to the City Government. He said the City Government has around 80 intersections, 18 of which are part of Phase 1 of the modernization project, and another 27 will be included in the ongoing Phase 2 implementation.

He stressed that discipline on the road not only ensures a smooth flow of traffic but it also lessens vehicular and road accidents. / EHP


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