Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Opinion
Strictly stressing
By Bong Lacson

Aug 10, 2017

“ANG LAW enforcement ang number one, dahil magiging walang kwenta ang lahat ng efforts natin kung walang batas na ipapatupad at susundin kaya nakafocus din tayo dyan.”

So was quoted City of San Fernando Mayor Edwin Santiago in SunStar-Pampanga as he “disclosed” the city’s four-point solution to its “growing traffic problem.”

The other three being: 1) improving the engineering; 2) information dissemination; 3) disciplining of citizens.

In actuality, old, old prescriptions ever re-issued whenever traffic problems in the city are raised. In effect, the mayor affirmed what we have long been screaming here: It’s enforcement, stupid!

Santiago though slipped into what Kapampangans say “ustu ya, pero e ya macatud,” in saying “…kung walang batas na ipapatupad at susundin…” The fact is, the city has a surfeit of laws but epically fails in enforcing them. At issue, Sir, is: Kung walang pagpapatupad at walang pagsunod sa mga batas. Gets n’yo po?

So, Santiago “stressed that the city traffic management office is strictly implementing the traffic rules, regulations and ordinances around the city such as the ‘No helmet, No ride’ policy, one-way road schemes, regulation of tricycles and tri-wheelers on major thoroughfares and unnecessary obstructions on roads, among others.”

My daily commute between San Fernando and Angeles shows otherwise. Evidenced by almost day-to-day photo documentation of helmetless motorcyclists, kids dangling from motorbikes, tricycles on major thoroughfares, vehicles driving thru no entry signs, jeepneys routinely running red lights or loading and unloading passengers where expressly forbidden.

For hizzoner to say “the city traffic management office is strictly implementing the traffic rules, regulations and ordinances,” can only mean: 1) at bad, Santiago is on a daily regimen of cow dung from his traffic minions; 2) at worse, Santiago is blind; 3) at worst, Santiago is lying through his teeth.

Yes, notwithstanding the city government’s praise released millions of pesos in fines collected from erring motorists. As I have yet to chance even one instance of apprehension by the city traffic enforcers of a traffic violator.

So, shall I choose to remain the Doubting Thomas for now: To see, is to believe.

Upsurges

A lesser sense of disbelief I hold of the traffic law enforcement in Angeles City which city hall, only two days back, praise released itself as having “intensified,” resulting to an “upsurge” in apprehensions.

A total of 9,759 violators since January 2017 with motorcycle riders as most frequent scofflaws, reported the Angeles City Traffic Development Office (ACTDO) and Public Transportation Regulatory Office (PTRO).

A total of P2.8 million in fines and penalties was collected by the city government from the apprehended violators, proclaimed proudly the PR.

“Mostly violated traffic rules” included: (1) obstructions along the main thoroughfares with 3,756 apprehensions; (2) truck ban, 1,332; (3) lack of licenses, 677; (4) lack of mayor’s permit, 472; and (5) invalidity of registration and license, 347.

For helmetless riding alone, there has been an increase from 949 violators in June 2017 to 999 violators as of July 2017, ACTDO reported.

Aye, there’s the rub.

I count no less than 20 bareheaded motorcyclists on days – thrice weekly at the least – I traverse the MacArthur Highway from our Punto! office at the San Fernando-Angeles City boundary to SM City Clark. At least 20 violators in a routinely 25-minute commute, averaging to 600 errant riders in a month!

Think how that average upsurges, to use the Angeles-CIO term, when that 25-minute is expanded to a whole day, and the city’s other main thoroughfares – the Circumferential Road, Pandan Road, Mountain View, and the downtown area – are factored in the equation.

Apparently, more, much much more got away from the ACTDO dragnet than the 999 apprehended.

Yet, “…ACTDO has also been stricter in the implementation of the “No Helmet, No Travel” Policy and obstruction of roads…” the praise release cannot but help overstress.

As the traffic situation stands still, though, and I get those photos of pasaway riders, there’s not enough reason for me to cease referring to the city traffic office as ACTDOn’t.

Even as Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan believes otherwise: “These numbers (of apprehensions) that were submitted to us are a manifestation that our traffic management arms are doing their best to maintain road orderliness and safety.”

Ruing: “On the other hand, we are also saddened because it shows that many motorists are reluctant to follow the laws and precautions identified in our Traffic Code.”

Affirmed anew: It’s enforcement, stupid!

“We don’t want to be another Manila. We want to be ahead of the needs in improving the traffic flow. This is all in an effort to prepare Angeles City for the future impact of newer vehicles and increase in commuters.”

Precisely the point, Sir.



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