BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
ILOILO CITY – The Terminal Market, also known as “Super Market” or “Super” is cursed with congested streets five years since the measure intended to declog them, took effect. We are referring to the Perimeter Boundary Ordinance (PBO) which solves everything except traffic gridlocks.
Before, roads surrounding the Super teemed with vehicles unloading people and products from the towns, and conversely, loading passengers and goods back to their origins. The PBO requires provincial public utility vehicles (PUJs) to disgorge passengers in private terminals in the outskirts, and wait until they get passes to proceed to Super.
Brisk economic life radiated from the Super until a wolf pack at city hall schemed to halt it through the PBO.
The PBO doubles the terminating costs of PUJs. Before, drivers only paid a single terminal fee per trip to the city. Today, it’s P30 minimum per arrival at the private terminals, followed by another P20 at the Super. Private terminal fees vary according to vehicle class, up to P70 per arrival for buses.
Former mayor, now House Rep. Jerry Trenas, conceived the PBO ostensibly to ease traffic. Events, however, give us second thoughts: private terminals remind us of racketeers wishing to squeeze profits at every turn, especially with the persistent rumor that the man concerned is yet to deny, of one terminal in Jaro being run by a dummy whose principal is Trenas himself.
City roads continue to grind from traffic bedlams because the local legislature is and has been dominated by smarties who refuse enlightenment from Pierre Clavel, retired regional director of the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board (LTFRB), who identifies the cause of road bottlenecks as private vehicles for their sheer number: they outnumber PUJs 10 to one at any one time in Iloilo City.
Clavel adds that private vehicles aggravate the snarls because their owners appropriate roads as personal garages, parking on both sides anytime throughout the day. These businessmen ply their craft in tandem with monkeys at city hall who look the other way as roads which are publicly owned are de facto privatized by a handful. The Super shows that: what used to be parking areas for PUJs waiting for their trips back to their respective towns, are occupied by private vehicles, ukay-ukay stands, makeshift storages, repair shops, fruit stalls, etc., that constricts traffic.
(Clavel, incidentally, wants to continue to extend his public service by running this May for the provincial board representing Iloilo’s first district.)
Not a single centavo goes to the city coffer from the operations of private PUJ terminals which turn even restrooms into lucrative business. Putting up and maintaining a clean, functional restroom is supposed to be the duty of terminal owners but they still charge “donations” from users. They one at Tagbak, Jaro has one collector charging P5 per entrant sans receipt.
Pavia town runs a PUJ terminal which doubles as “bagsakan” of municipal products. Its restrooms are clean and for free. Each PUJ pays only P25 per day, not per trip as done in Iloilo City. And it earns.
Passi City’s modern terminal shames the PBO’s. Its parking bays for buses and jeepneys are concrete.
Waiting travellers have enough seats and restrooms. All fees go to the city coffer. City employees clean the restrooms and charge every entrant P2 with corresponding arkabala, which means users’ fees for the comfort rooms are documented and accounted for by the local treasury.