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Traffic woes in Naga Na!

Traffic in Naga City especially in Panganiban Drive and Magsaysay Avenue in rush hour is becoming unbearable like any other burgeoning cities in the country. But each city has its own unique traffic issue; whether it is the “Education, Enforcement and Engineering” side of it—the essential and original 3Es of sound traffic management program widely and successfully developed and implemented in the City streets of many countries. The absence of one of these three elements though, the program is bound to fail.

Naga City has its own distinct problem.

City officials charged with traffic management have been attending numerous trainings and seminars to learn the latest in Traffic Management Control in UP Manila and elsewhere. In fact, the Public Safety Office (PSO) has been posting in the Facebook ad nauseam their supposed daily activities; early morning meetings with traffic enforcers lined up in parade rest, wheel clamping drives, apprehensions of violators, etc, as propaganda evidence perhaps of what they learned in those “scientific traffic seminars”. But, what have they got to show?

Unconscionable traffic still and nothing more.

Jeepneys plying along Magsaysay route are notoriously and rampantly observed stopping intentionally to load and unload passengers at the very front of “No Loading and Unloading” signs adjacent to Starbucks. This is worsened by counter flowing motorcycles occupying a considerable portion of the other side of the upcoming traffic trying to get ahead of everyone else causing line of helpless vehicles stock up bumper-to-bumper. The barricade that separates the lane going exclusively to Basilica transforms the two-lane into just one, a sure bottleneck ensued instead. Very few turns right to Basilica as observed compared to those going straight along Magsaysay Avenue. The barricade results to annoying obstruction, unfortunately.

The same is happening on the corner of Panganiban Street and Cory and Ninoy Aquino Avenue (from SM). Jeepneys and tri-mobiles disregard the loading and unloading signs. All these are happening on the daily basis under the very noses of traffic enforcers manning the traffic and at times with cops standing leisurely nearby on the side of the street!

These are just few of the multiple glaring examples of the many flagrant violations of jeepney drivers and negligence of traffic enforcers—a familiar sight in the City streets of Naga Na!.

Private vehicles are not exceptions. They are worst violators, in fact. They purposely park on the side of a very busy street on rush hours in a “clamping area” along the stretch of Panganiban Drive. They just switch on their hazard lights presuming that these flashing lights accord them the right to disrupt the flow of traffic for some considerable time (a no loading/ unloading and stopping sign from 7-9 AM and 5-7 PM should be placed there as well, an unsolicited advice if I may).

Turtle-like moving pedicabs (pajak) are common in almost all the main thoroughfares or major streets along the City too. They have no business pedaling and running at 5km/hr on high-density traffic street such as MT Villanueva (formerly Liboton) even in non-rush hours. Pedicabs are for streets inside subdivisions or in minor roads—everyone knows this. They pose a great deal of danger to motorized vehicles especially at night in the absence of their front and tail lights, or even reflectorized stickers to forewarn fast approaching vehicles. They also swerve to wherever direction without regards to other vehicles. Pedicabs and tri-mobiles do not carry insurance for the protection of their passengers that’s why they are supposed to be relegated to secondary roads where traffic is light and safer for them to freely maneuver. It is almost always the fault of the 4-wheel motorized vehicle when accidents happen involving these pedicabs and tri-mobiles even on the streets where they are not permitted to traverse no matter what the nature of the accident is. Policemen systematically cite and charge the poor driver with reckless imprudence resulting to damage to property or even homicide if there is death although they are not at fault conceivably—I say, sue the City Hall, instead, WTF!

But of course, the City officials will surely reason out that they are doing the best they can. This is not to undermine their “hard work” because they may be seriously “sweating” it out, really. Regrettably though, their “sweat” just doesn’t measure up to the task. Notably because they lack political will in implementing what is mandated in the City Ordinance and in the DILG’s memorandum circular requiring provincial governors, City and municipal government officials to restrict these tri-mobiles, pedicabs, and other types of slow-moving vehicles on main public roads and hi-ways for ease of traffic and for safety of everyone else.

To be clear, in fairness to the present City administration, the negligence in the implementation of this traffic laws happened even during the previous administration. However, this doesn’t mean that they should not enforce it and do what is right today just because of the paucity of interest and customary laxity of the traffic laws in the past.

Without attempting to expose what is evident, it bears repeating that there are missing vital elements, if not all of the 3Es—”Education, Enforcement and Engineering” in their traffic management, no matter how one looks at it.

In parallel comparison, Mayor “Yorme” Isko Moreno boldly kicked out, in a matter of days upon assumption of office, all illegal vendors and 3-wheelers occupying the main streets in Manila that impeded the flow of traffic—a political suicide as thought out by traditional politicians (trapos) before him who perennially count on these supposed large “mahihirap votes” on election time. A bad move politically, they said. Surprisingly, however, the opposite happened—Yorme’s popularity skyrocketed not only in his City, but all over the land. He is now a folk hero!

Manny Disuanco, and his batch mates in AdeNU HS ’66 have taken this traffic issue as their advocacy for a while now. I take my hat off to them for this worthy cause—Animo Ateneo!

All said and done, incumbent Mayor Nelson Legacion of Naga City is now in the position to manifest his political will and enforce this long overdue traffic laws and make Naga City what his new slogan—Naga Na! envisions—not just for the “mahihirap votes”, but for all Nagaenos as well.

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