BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
We join the community of a Tsinoy high school celebrate its centennial but can’t help but comment on the knack of its leaders and the acquiescence of the Iloilo City government for allowing the celebrants drag an entire population to their otherwise private affair.
Iznart Street from corner Solis until Plazoleta Gay, and Delgado Street, from corner Valeria until the corner of Muelle Loney, are closed to traffic, snarling the flow as the un-announced rerouting and closure grinds to its third day as of this writing, February 22.
Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog allows a tiny segment of Iloilo City to paralyze travel in the heart of the commercial district. The community has all the facilities inside its school to hold such celebration. Why drag us into their festivity? Why allow them to erect a stage at Delgado, a busy street?
Mabilog, much less his traffic czar Mitch Antiquena, has no power to close public roads. The Local Government Code lodges that authority exclusively on the sanggunian.
Traffic is already a mess in the Iloilo City for which Mabilog cries “My City, My Pride” even without the closure of roads. The city center is already a bottleneck and Mabilog, who is asking you and me to make it beautiful so to qualify it for an imaginary niche in the “7 wonder cities of the world”, is aggravating that by catering to the whims of a tiny segment of society whose members have also been responsible for the perpetual traffic nightmare because they turn public roads right in the heart of Iloilo City into their private garage. They still have the nerve to appropriate streets by putting up signs like “No Parking. Reserved for Owner and Clients” or words to that effect.
Such extraordinary benevolence, however, is beyond the reach of public utility drivers who have only sad tales to tell on the lopsided traffic management in My City, My Price, este, Pride.
Once a pregnant woman with a toddler in tow, flagged down a Mandurriao – Iloilo jeepney in front of a mall along Delgado Street. A traffic enforcer saw it but did not blow his whistle. He just motioned the driver to the side and issued him a ticket, making the man poorer by P200 in fine. Instead of directing traffic flow, the orientation of enforcers is apprehend violators that explains for their nice habit of hiding behind electric posts or beams of buildings instead of planting their feet in the open.
In law, the pregnant, disabled and elderly have special access to transportation – they may embark or disembark in non-designated areas without incurring criminal liability for the driver or themselves. The Land Transportation Office (LTO) requires of jeepney and bus operators to designate seats to be vacated in case the senior citizen, the pregnant or the disabled boards.
Another instance: a driver also of Mandurriao – Iloilo, stopped for lunch at Valeria Extension, city proper. After his meal, he drove his vehicle back to Ledesma then to Iznart and Veleria streets for the rest of designated route back to Mandurriao.
A traffic enforcer apprehended him for “trip cutting”. Where is trip cutting there when no passenger was dropped off short of the distance? His jeepney was empty when he stopped for lunch. He plied back to Iznart Street only to pick up passengers, which is within his route.
The driver challenged the apprehension in an administrative proceeding. Its time the LTO recalled the deputization of the traffic aide or subject him to seminars for his enlightenment.
The traffic management office is witness to a daily lucrative practice. An apprehended driver must go to city hall to pay for the fine in order to claim back his or her license. The treasury issues a receipt after payment and directs the payor to another window — which returns the confiscated license but requires the surrender of the receipt, which has no name of the payor, incidentally.
The same receipt is recycled for multiple payments, which is brilliant accounting, don’t you agree?
May CT kag may price!