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PBO: offshoot of superstition

What’s Iloilo city hall is really after: decongest traffic or provide livelihood to drivers?


City hall continues to peddle the superstition that provincial jeepneys are the culprits for road congestion.


That parochial view insists that Iloilo City must be for Iloilo City residents. Beyond its borders are foreign lands peopled by aliens and barbarians who cause daily misery to its residents.


For the information of Honorable Plaridel Nava,  provincial public transport renders invaluable contribution to Iloilo City: they ferry people and goods to and fro, spurring businesses and economic exchanges between Iloilo City, financial hub of Western Visayas with the rest of the Philippines. This is gleaned from the “population” of Iloilo which in night time isonly 400,000 but on daytime reaches up to 500,000 plus. The addition comprises warm bodies who transact business and render manual and mental labor which in turn fuels growth of businesses.


From his pronouncements, Nava, chair of the committee on transport which now conducting public hearings on the “Comprehensive Perimeter Boundary Ordinance” has already made up his mind: totally cut provincial jeepneys and commuters off from the heart of the city.


Nava’s mind is already closed; predisposed to swallow the superstition peddled by racketeers in the local government and bogus transport leaders that provincial jeepneys are the culprits for traffic gridlocks and economic misery of city loop drivers.


He swallowed the yarn that a city loop driver lose P500 daily because provincial jeepneys took away “their” passengers, a superstition dished out by bogus transport leaders, two of them, according to a LTFRB official, have pending arrest warrants for estafa.


Not surprisingly, there is one regional director, Helen Catalbas of – of all offices – the Department of Tourism, parroting that yarn.


NEDA records, and the study done PISTON, militant organization of PUJ drivers and operators in Panay, dispute the canard and point to private vehicles as culprits because at any time in Iloilo City, they outnumber PUJs 7 : 1.


Provincial jeepneys, from southern Iloilo, pass only Luna Street up to UP junction and turn right up to the Super Market; those from central Iloilo take the Diversion Road up to the Super Market; and those from the northern route, pass the Jaro Plaza, then turn to the Diversion Road and from there, proceed to the Super Market.


All PUJs proceed to the Super to disgorge cargoes – crops and livestock. The number of provincial PUJs is already restricted as the bulk of its units stay at their respective terminals and wait for members returning from the Super Market to surrender their “passes” since those proceeding to the city proper sans pass are fined  P3,000 minimum.


Other people’s organizations have their own data supporting PISTON’s contention of symbiosis between provincial PUJs and the city economy: they benefit locals making a living at the Super area to include the chain of hardware, groceries, shops, and agri-stores. The PBO jacks up fares and cargo handling.


Traffic gridlocks at the city proper are caused private vehicles parking on both sides because traffic enforcers are blind and the car ownersbelieve roads are their private garages.


Confronted with data from NEDA and PISTON, our honorables retreat to yet another superstition: what about the livelihood of our city drivers? That baseless cry is spewed by bogus transport leaders that their members lose P500 daily from competition with provincial jeepneys.


Here is one example of a public transport measure being designed not based on science but on superstition, all for the benefit of private vehicle owners and a pack of racketeers at the expense of the majority.


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