We are not alone in asking the query above. Broadcast commentators in fact pounded on that earlier. Bedlam reigns in Iloilo City roads daily.
We don’t want to add to the barbs already slung on Joe Tengco, head of the TMTRO which should read “Traffic Mismanagement and Transport Regulatory Office”. He already has enough.
If I were Joe, the best that I would do is resign and return to his mother office where work is less stressful. Tengco is being asked to perform a miracle when he has been crippled at the outset. On paper, he is the commander of a battalion-strong “traffic enforcers”. In reality, he is not.
Over “Kape kag Isyu” cable TV show hosted by Peter Jimenea, Tengco admitted traffic aides under his command reached 375-strong, supposedly that is, because that’s the one appearing in paper. The warm bodies actually reporting for duty is not even half that for the obvious reason that the TMTRO is an office of ghosts comprising the privileged ones who report to work only during the 15th and 30thdays of the month to collect wages, and the lucky ones, to include honorable officials empowered to collect not only their own salaries but also of other names appearing in the TMTRO payroll.
Had Joe Tengco have full command of all 375 traffic aides, city roads wouldn’t have become outrageous bottlenecks that they are today because they are either unattended or under-attended by traffic personnel.
The diggings and the road constructions that sprouted almost simultaneously, snail-paced and dragging indefinitely, have combined to aggravate Joe Tengco’s headache. The urgency to field additional personnel there is real but the office cannot because the TMTRO roster is contaminated by ghost names.
Drivers and commuters are one in asking: where are the traffic aides? They are needed to put order in the streets, to make traffic flow. But they are nowhere to be found.
Monday morning, June 25, yours truly and fellow commuters rushing to catch the flag ceremony in government offices, wondered why busy junctions like those at the Mandurriao Plaza, particularly that at the back of the Catholic church and the at the district elementary school, had only one who felt harassed at the sheer volume of vehicles roaring from all sides. We were relieved the Jaro-Mandurriao jeepney driver anticipated the bottleneck and made a timely detour at the back of the church to wind through the NHA housing project and exit through the “Indian Trail” junction, named after a defunct night spot nearby along the national road at Dungon A.
Not a single traffic aide was seen from Mandurriao up to Dungon A, despite the gridlock. The only one we saw as a lone traffic enforcer was at the front of the Jaro Cathedral where we disembarked later to transfer to another jeepney to take us to the city proper.
We have here an instance how corruption hurts. Traffic management in the city is in tatters because a tiny segment of society is allowed to convert roads at the downtown area into their private garages. They have the power and capacity to grease hands so their parked vehicles are untouched, in open defiance of the traffic ordinance that so prohibit that.
That is aggravated by the TMTRO roster which is over-staffed by ghosts and “15-30” personnel.