Jammed in stupidity

    IN WHAT it billed as a bid to address traffic issues in the city, the San Fernando LGU conducted its first ever “traffic summit” last July, participated in by different transport groups, barangay officials, government agencies, non-government organizations, and representatives from schools, churches and malls.

    In that summit, Mayor Edwin Santiago disclosed that the city was pushing for the “institutionalization of a Public Order and Safety Coordinating Office to spearhead the effective planning and focusing on the issues of traffic jam.”

    “We are continuously adding manpower in the TMD (Traffic Management Division) and we are striving to provide our personnel with skills and educational trainings and keep them well informed on the national and local traffic rules to effectively manage traffic.” So was Santiago quoted.

    Instant output of the summit: Pledge of Commitment signed by Santiago, Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin and all the stakeholders “to implement and initiate policies and solutions; and abide by the traffic laws towards a more sustainable road, transport and traffic management in the City of San Fernando.”

    Five months after, summit pa more!

    Already bad, bad, bad, the traffic situation in the City of San Fernando has gone even worse, worse, worse after the summit. Where traffic was very light – at the St. Jude junction of Lazatin Blvd and MacArthur Highway – it is now really heavy.

    Where traffic was only moderate – at the SACOP, Del Rosario and Sindalan intersections – it is now full-blown heavy. Ditto the Sto. NinoLazatin Boulevard intersection going all the way to the Capitol. Shudder to think how worst in extremis it will be once Megaworld starts constructing – and ultimately, operating – its massive Capital Town project there.

    Where traffic was heavy – morning and evening rush hours at the Bacolor EPZA and Paning crossings of MacArthur Highway – traffic is already hellish. Wait for SM Telabastagan to open and we shall behold carmaggedon.

    Where traffic was routinely heavy – the whole Dolores stretch of MacArthur Highway – it is routinely heavier.

    So, pledge and commit pa more!

    Abide by traffic laws? Not in the City of San Fernando – where they are never wanting in enactment and posting. But ever waiting for enforcing.

    “No helmet, No travel.” Ay, more honored in the breach than in the observance. At signalized intersections: Red for Stop, Green for Go – tell that to jeepney drivers and motorcyclists.

    “Tricycles are not allowed on major highways – DILG MC 001-2007.” Just about the most violated road regulation ever contrived, and the least, ay, never, enforced order by the LGUs. And the DILG still awards them the Seal of Good Governance. It cannot get any stupider than this.

    “Bawal ang Magbaba/Magsakay Dito.” All jeepney drivers are too illiterate to understand, therefore, to follow this. Wonder how they passed the requisite Land Transportation Office tests for their professional driving license.

    The bitterest irony of it all is that the office of the City of San Fernando Traffic Management Division is situated right under that flyover at the Dolores Junction.

    If not only for the inconvenience it would cause the thousands of motorists and the commuting public that use it daily, it would be justifiable schadenfreude to wish that flyover – under the weight of all those overloaded heavy vehicles – would fall and crash on the inutile TMD office underneath.

    Improper, yes, definitely unchristian, but that is no impossible wish. In November 2011, the Colgante Bridge connecting Apalit and Macabebe towns collapsed under the weight of three overloaded dump trucks. Just like CSF’s flyovers, a 14-ton limit was also imposed for vehicles crossing Colgante Bridge. The sufferings of the people of Macabebe and Masantol – going over unpaved, bumpy detours – dusty in summer, muddy during rains – took over a year or two before the bridge was completely reconstructed.

    Vis-à-vis the San Fernando flyovers, the fall of Colgante Bridge is too dire a warning to ignore.

    Aye, if only for the spirit of charity permeating this Christmas season, we shall refrain from calling out the city government…estupido.


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