How do we feel about traffic? That’s a no-brainer. We hate it. And we feel the same for its synonyms which all mean that we’re going to be late for work again, words like “gridlock” and “congestion. “ Anyone who has ever visited, worked in or lived in the Philippines would know how bad the traffic jams are in the cities, particularly Quezon City, Manila and Makati. The main avenues of these cities and even the secondary roads are often congested, and the problem of traffic congestion has become so serious that the economy is affected in no small way. There is a reason why popular novelist Dan Brown – author of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’ – mentioned Metro Manila’s monumental traffic jams in his book ‘Inferno’. He called The Philippines has the sixth-worst traffic congestion problem in the world so far this year Metro Manila the ‘Gates of Hell.’ Reviews development permits for subdivision plans for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes and for other major land development projects with metro-wide transport and traffic impacts, issued by the city and municipal governments within Metro Manila, to ensure that they are consistent with MMDA’s development plan, and for this purpose establish a traffic impact assessment system. Short on infrastructure and strapped for cash, the Philippine capital is turning to toll roads as a solution for its massive traffic congestion problems. (American Society of Civil Engineers, 1998) The Philippines has the sixth-worst traffic congestion problem in the world so far this year. (Peel and Ramos, 2016)
All parts of the Philippines suffer with traffic congestion but for different reasons. Road density – the ratio of road-network length to total land area – is a problem for Metro Manila. The traffic bottlenecks are becoming a travel bane that adversely impact on the economy and also on the general well-being of Filipinos. In addition, without a sound traffic management plan, major roads such as EDSA would become giant parking lot where not a single machine and flesh would move. (Targeted News Service, 2013) There is very little space to build more roads. In a statement, Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Arthur Tugade, the founder of I-ACT, noted that traffic congestion in Metro Manila cannot be solved by a single solution. (Mena, 2017) For other parts of the archipelago, where there is space, the required roads aren’t being built. (Magtulis, 2018) The lack of investment in infrastructure and the development of roads in the past years have contributed to the worsening traffic condition not only in the capital city but also in other major cities, including Cebu and Davao.
The Baguio City police advice motorists to obey traffic laws and regulation, and avoid leaving their vehicles in no parking areas to avoid further road congestion with traffic considerably heavy with the influx of visitors.
The Terminal Appointment Booking System, or TABS, was a response to the truck ban and road policies that were introduced by the local government in 2014 to combat the traffic congestion in Manila. (Knowler, 2015)
One of the busiest city’s and traffic congestion is prevalent is also in the city of Bacolod. The main avenues of these cities and even the secondary roads are often congested, and the problem of traffic congestion has become so serious that the local economy is affected. While total reduction of congestion is next to impossible in the Philippines, consistent and serious efforts to improve transportation infrastructure for Bacolod including much delayed mass transport systems can translate to genuine benefits.
In this study, we will check and review the following cases that causes traffic in Bacolod city, investigate the main roads, laws implemented and come up with a research to lessen Bacolod’s traffic concerns which includes imposing sanctions that would benefit both the government and the law abiding citizen, wages and benefits of traffic enforcers and most common traffic violation that causes traffic.
Not to mention the uncontrollable need of consumers purchasing cars that increases the rate of traffic during the peak hours and the road has limited space to offer, the congestion is inevitable.
Many studies have been written on the economic costs of congested traffic, and they usually consider such factors such as cost of traffic value of time lost due to delay, fuel prices, vehicle operating costs, effects on health, and greenhouse gas emissions.
The following are the busiest roads in Bacolod city mainly comprised of highways and streets forming its circumferential and radial road network: Lacson Street, Burgos Avenue, Gatuslao Street.
1)Lacson Street is one of the major streets in Bacolod City. In fact, this is where some major festival in the city is being held: the Bacalaodiat Chinese New Year Festival and Electric Masskara among others. This is where interesting food shops in the city are located. Main traffic hours is 7:30am to 10:00am and 4:30pm to 10:00pm.
2) Burgos Avenue is also one of the busiest roads since the place is near to Bacolod’s New Government Center and often vendors taking up space in the main road. Traffic in this area usually occurs 7:00am to 11:00am and 4:00pm and 10:00pm.
- Gatuslao St. is cited as one of the busiest and most populated area in Bacolod City, mainly because business establishments and shopping malls are located in this area. Traffic hours usually occur during 7:00am to 10:00am when employees and students go to work and school, 4:00pm to 9:00pm when they go back their homes.
The wasted productivity hours because of traffic is equal to a monetary value that could be used for other things, such as earning extra income or spending more time with the family. Traffic congestion impedes the mobility of people, goods and services and threatens the livability of the country’s cities. (MENA Report, 2016).
The establishment of new infrastructure will improve traffic management. New roads and expressways will be built, and this is intended to improve accessibility, traffic enforcement and education. The public transport system will also be improved, and in the process, the country will be able to cut its traffic losses and even generate revenues.
The proper implementation of rules and regulations will directly involve drivers to be educated for them to be disciplined in the knowledge of road courtesy that will have a positive effect in their every day trip. Furthermore, these drivers would be smart enough not to cause traffic to the highway they are travelling because of their awareness to road policies.
The researcher’s objective is to find ways or new laws on how to extinguish if not, lessen the traffic in Bacolod city through recommending laws that will be imposed to the city because as observe by the researchers, lack of proper traffic regulations and of discipline is the main cause of traffic in the said city.
- To discover and study the causes of traffic in Bacolod city – Being aware of the cause are a good start to find solutions, thus, the researchers will investigate the main reasons why our road here in the city are congested.
- Lessen the traffic – Bacolod city is already congested and people always have a hard time going to school, catch up for a time in in their work place and even for people who do not have something important to work on but expects to be in the place they are travelling with to come late because of the hassle of traffic gives them every day.
- Laws – Researchers wanted to recommend laws to be implemented since it was created to eradicate the problem of traffic. Drivers do not know how to follow these regulations. Thus, they worsen the street’s condition.
- Discipline – Drivers need to know their designated area where to park, stop or unload passengers but what is happening is that they are not punished so they ended up doing the same violations as routine.
- To provide a reference for future researches of the same study – every city never runs out of traffic problems cause, issues like these are ought to be prevalent today. Thus, this study will aid future researches for reference.
The researchers interviewed the leading education staff, Jerry Elizarde of Bacolod Traffic Authority Office, to gather information as to how traffic became a problem in Bacolod city and what are its major causes. They have also searched the City Ordinances that are being implemented and some of its contribution to the problem of traffic. According to him, there is an estimated of 600 newly registered private cars added on Bacolod city alone every month and it greatly affects the way how traffic congestion goes every single day. Fredy Gaitan, a Land Transportation Office staff, confirmed the claim of BTAO regarding the quantity of new cars registered on a monthly basis.
The researchers also checked the following efforts and method used by the city to lessen the traffic in Bacolod. As per Mr. Elizarde, Seminars are being conducted to drivers every month from 9:30am to 1:30pm Friday. Traffic Enforcers are being reminded, on how to handle violators and bottle neck drivers. They were update by their officers about the laws and ordinances in traffic regulations and make advance preparations for temporary road construction that will lead to, but temporary traffic.
In this chapter the team will discuss the following factors that cause Traffic in Bacolod city.People abhor traffic in Bacolod City. Passenger mobiles and motor vehicles and other transport groups experienced it every day. Passenger automobiles are defined in the Section 3 of RA 4136 as all pneumatic-tire vehicles of types similar to those usually known under the following terms: touring car, command car, speedster, sports car, roadster, jeep, cycle, car (except motor wheel and similar small outfits which are classified with motorcycles), coupe, closed car, limousine, cabriolet, and sedan. While motor vehicle means any vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power using the public highways, but excepting road rollers, trolley cars, street-sweepers, sprinklers, lawn mowers, bulldozers, graders, fork-lifts, amphibian trucks, and cranes if not used on public highways, vehicles which run only on rails or tracks, and tractors, trailers and traction engines of all kinds used exclusively for agricultural purposes also pursuant to the said Section of RA 4136. These drivers would be unproductive all throughout the day suffering traffic in every way they passed. Driver shall mean every and any licensed operator of a motor vehicle. (Section 2 RA 4136) Professional drivers are the ones that could only drive passenger automobiles. They are also defined as every and any driver hired or paid for driving or operating a motor vehicle, whether for private use or for hire to the public. Most of the times, parking with no consideration to ways and drivers, makes it harder for vehicles to pass or they would bump to each other. Parking is defined in the paragraph letter L of Land Transportation code which says, it shall mean that a motor vehicle is “parked” or “parking” if it has been brought to a stop on the shoulder or proper edge of a highway, and remains inactive in that place or close thereto for an appreciable period of time. A motor vehicle which properly stops merely to discharge a passenger or to take in a waiting passenger, or to load or unload a small quantity of freight with reasonable dispatch shall not be considered as “parked”, if the motor vehicle again moves away without delay. Both passenger automobiles and motor vehicles unknowingly violates Section 46 that says, No driver shall park a vehicle, or permit it to stand, whether attended or unattended, upon a highway in any of the following places:
(a) Within an intersection
(b) On a crosswalk
(c) Within six meters of the intersection of curb lines.
(d) Within four meters of the driveway entrance to and fire station.
(e) Within four meters of fire hydrant
(f) In front of a private driveway
(g) On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the curb or edge of the highway
(h) At any place where official signs have been erected prohibiting parking.
Resulting to severed traffic congestion. Professional drivers often neglect Article 5, Miscellaneous Traffic Rules, citing Section 54 which is Obstruction of Traffic. It is defined as No person shall drive his motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct or impede the passage of any vehicle, nor, while discharging or taking on passengers or loading or unloading freight, obstruct the free passage of other vehicles on the highway. Unfortunately, they are not caught that is why they can just continue violating it without adherence to the law. (Section 56 RA 4136)
The Researchers investigated and according to their findings some of the leading cause of traffic jams and road mishaps are drivers who deliberately disobey traffic rules. It could be as uncomplicated as tailgating another vehicle, to overtaking on single or double white lines, to beating red lights especially when there are no traffic enforcers around.
If drivers knew how much they would have to pay, apart from the damages they could cause others because of their negligence, they would probably be a lot more careful on the road.
The researchers also check and tackle the fines and penalties for Frauds and Falsities, and Traffic Violations which are prevalent in Bacolod city.
Violation Fines and Penalties (Php)
1. Use of fake plates / sticklers / pursuant documents 2,000 to 4,000 to be imposed upon the owner and / or driver of the subject MV. This violation usually pertains to bus operators.
2. Misrepresenting a copy of a document pertinent to a motor vehicle before the Traffic Adjudication Services 1,500 to be imposed upon the driver or owner.
2. Traffic Violations
Violation Fines and Penalties (Php)
a. Within an intersection
b. Within 5 meters of the intersection
c. 4 meters from the driveway entrance
d. Within 4 meters from a fire hydrant
e. In front of a private driveway
f. On the roadway side of any unmoving or parked MV at the curb edge of the highway.
g. At any place where signs of prohibitions have been installed.
2. Reckless Driving which is the most common and prevalent violation because of Negrenses lack of discipline in traffic regulations this is driving with a willful or wanton disregard for safety or the operation of a vehicle in which you show a willful disregard of consequences. Such as but not limited to the following:
a. Disregarding Traffic Signs
– Failure to yield right-of-way;
– Failure to yield right-of-way to ambulance police or fire department vehicles;
– Failure to yield right-of-way at a “through highway” or a “stop intersection”
– Failure to give proper signal
– Illegal turn
– Failure to stop motor vehicle and notch handbrake of motor vehicle when unattended
– Unsafe towing.
b. Allowing passenger on top or cover of a motor vehicle except in a truck helper.
c. Failure to provide canvass cover to cargos or freight of trucks requiring the same.
d. Permitting passenger to ride on running board stepboard or mudguard of MV while in motion.
e. Driving for hire motor vehicles in slippers.
f. Driving in a place not intended for traffic or into place not allowed for parking.
g. Hitching or permitting a person or a bicycle, tricycle or skate roller to hitch a motor vehicle.
h. Driving against traffic.
i. Illegal overtaking.
j. Overtaking at unsafe distance.
k. Cutting an overtaking vehicle.
l. Failure to give way to an overtaking vehicle.
m. Increasing speed when being overtaken.
n. Overtaking when left side is not visible or clear of oncoming traffic.
o. Overtaking upon a crest of a grade.
p. Overtaking upon a curve.
q. Overtaking at any railway grade crossing.
r. Overtaking at any intersection.
s. Overtaking between “men working” or “caution” signs.
t. Overtaking at no overtaking zone.
u. Failure to yield the right-of-way.
v. Failure to stop traversing a “through a highway or railroad” crossing.
Php 1,000 – 1st offense
Php 1,500 – 2nd offense and suspension of DL for two months.
Php 2,000 – 3rd offense and suspension of DL for six months
5,000 – Succeeding offense and revocation of DL
Obstructing the free passage of other vehicles on the highway while discharging or taking passengers or loading and unloading freight, or driving a motor vehicle is such a manner as to obstruct or impede the passage of any vehicle.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is a criminal offense that’s punished as a
misdemeanor in most situations. Misdemeanors are punished by incarceration in
the local jail for up to one year, and can involve probation, fines, community
service, restitution to victims harmed by the defendant’s conduct, and
participation in counseling. Collateral consequences of a reckless driving
conviction can include driver’s license suspensions and heightened insurance
g in a manner that “endangered,” or was “endangering” [to the well-being of another]; or that State statutes typically use terms such as “reckless,” “recklessly,” “reckless manner,” or “reckless disregard” to describe the proscribed driving. These terms are not precise, yet courts have consistently found that they are sufficiently definite and certain to define the offense (a key requirement of a criminal statute, required by the due process clause of the Constitution, is that its meaning must be clear and definite enough to be understood by the average person).
Laws defining reckless driving may use any or a combination of the following phrases, to describe the type of driving that is prohibited:
• driving “recklessly,” “in a reckless manner,” with “reckless disregard” and the like.
• driving that is “willful” or shows “wanton disregard [for the safety of persons or property]”
• driving “at an immoderate rate of speed or in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner”
• driving in a “careless manner,” or “carelessly and heedlessly”
• driving “without due caution” or “without due caution and circumspection”
• driving “with disregard for the safety of others”
• driving in a manner constituting a “material deviation” from the standards of care that a reasonable person would observe under the circumstances, and
• Driving such that the driver “negligently fail[s] to maintain reasonable and proper control of the vehicle” (however, mere negligence, without a willful disregard for the consequences, is not sufficient to establish recklessness).
In some states, similar terms and phrases have not passed the
requirement that they give drivers sufficient notice of the proscribed conduct.
For example, laws that prohibit driving was not “careful and prudent” or done in
a “prudent manner” have not passed Constitutional muster—they are too vague and
indefinite, and cannot support a prosecution.
Whether a particular course of driving is legally “reckless” will always depend on the circumstances.
How a Driver Who Broke the Law Must Be Charged
Drivers charged with reckless driving will see, on the charging document, some of the terms listed above. For example, they may be charged with driving “with reckless disregard” for the safety of others. While that term may be sufficiently definite to give notice to all drivers that they must not drive this way, any charging document (a complaint or information) must also specify the particular acts of the defendant that allegedly broke the law.
Here the following example of violations in Bacolod that causes traffic, this report also highlights the unfair treatment of traffic enforcers between public officials and common people.
The Video of Traffic Enforcers In Bacolod City Towing Motorcycles, Exempting Cars Goes Viral
The citizens have slammed the traffic enforcers in Bacolod City after towing motorcycles but exempting elegant cars with the same violation.
Traffic rules and regulations were imposed to be followed in order to avoid traffic problems and accidents. It was also made to ensure the safety of every motorist or by its passengers while traveling along the road.
Traffic enforcers and other public servants were tasked to implement the traffic rules and regulations. They were also assigned to issue tickets and confiscate the driver’s license of the violators in a proper procedure.
Unfortunately, there are some public servants who abuse their power and authority. The enforcers were used to be fair all the times in issuing violation ticket and even in towing vehicles for the sake of everyone.
A Facebook user named Stephen Palma Sipe has uploaded a video of the traffic enforcers while towing a couple of motorcycles parked beside a street in Bacolod City. Towing the motorcycles of the violators are understandable, but exempting elegant cars sound not fair anymore.
In the video, it can be seen that the enforcers exempt the cars parked beside the street, which committed the same violation with the motorcycles.
The citizens expressed their disappointment towards the traffic enforcer’s unfair treatment to the motorcycle riders. Sipe, also commented on his own post and posted a photo showing that cars replaced the spot where the motorcycles were towed.
The video immediately goes viral after it was posted in the social media on Friday (July 07, 2017). The viral video has already garnered 6.4k views, 62 reactions, 64 shares, and 14 comments as of this writing.
As what have news stated, their our some government officials that are not following traffic rules and much worse is that they used their authority to escaped penalties provided by the law.
Manpower issues and salary of traffic enforcers
As mentioned, other causes of traffic in Bacolod are poor implementation of traffic rules and regulation but the city could not properly enforce such laws due to lack of traffic enforcer. According to Jerry Elizarde, BTAO in Traffic Education, the problem is not about the Manpower and hiring of candidates for Traffic enforcer position but rather, the city’s budget for hiring additional staffs.
As per Mr. Elizarde, the salary of a regular traffic enforcer is 9500 per month including government Mandated benefits. Latest reports said that enforcers are set to get wage increase in the form of P6,000 monthly hazard pay, June 7 2018 the allowance should hopefully discourage enforcers from extorting from traffic violators and illegal sidewalk vendors which is also one of the reasons of traffic.
Enforcers cannot perform their duties on “an empty stomach,” he said, citing the current P 9,000 monthly salary of regular workers and P5,000 to P7,000 of contractual workers who do not get employment benefits.
However, low compensation is not an excuse.
With higher pay comes stricter policy the city reiterating that they will immediately fire enforcers who engage in “kotong (extortion)”
He said, roads like Lacson Street remain congested because enforcers do not immediately respond to “obstructions,” such as illegal vendors and motorists who violate traffic laws.
According to him, Bacolod official has scolded a handful of enforcers, but not immediately dismissed them because he’s following due process in relieving them.
Enforcers who are not trained enough to be employed will also be dismissed, he said.
This comes after the Commission on Audit reported in 2015 that more than 2,000 MMDA enforcers have not undergone and passed the required training and examination to perform traffic duties.
Currently, Bacolod has more than 300 traffic enforcers, and they have been training them ever since. Local officials are still in the process of weeding out those who still do not meet the qualifications.
Still, The City cannot dismiss all the undertrained enforcers at once, or it would leave the roads bare. (https://www.untvweb.com/news/mmda-dismisses-900-traffic-law-enforcers-corruption/)
The Problem of Road Congestion
Congestion is a real social problem that needs to be resolved because of its serious effects. In a nutshell, it isolates people from their various activities such as business, recreation, and family time.
Generally, congestion results in a less productive work force. Except when they commit the dangerous and potentially fatal mistake of talking to someone on their mobile phones, drivers are not very productive while commuting. In the Philippines where majority of employee take public transport, people use the time they’re stuck in traffic to call work, issue instructions or clarify issues, but on the whole, everyone ends up tense, frustrated and already tired when they get to work.
Congestion also adds to the country’s air pollution. This is because congestion leads to increased fuel consumption and automobile emissions as vehicles are forced to operate less efficiently. More cars on the road also mean increased greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn could lead to health costs.’
Congestion caused by unexpected events can also lead to higher statistics of vehicular accidents. When traffic incidents occur, congestion often appears in places where motorists do not expect it. Rubbernecking and conflicts with emergency vehicles also serve to exacerbate the problem.
In the meantime, construction and road work create unexpected changes in highway alignment and other features. By reducing how long traffic incidents and road work operations last, congestion can be reduced and reliability and commuter safety can be improved.
Traffic Jams and Effects on Work
According to a research titled “Employer Views on Traffic Congestion” (Policy Brief 115 of the Reason Foundation, 2014), traffic congestion is a problem not just for individual commuters but for businesses as well. While commuters are greatly concerned over rush hour traffic, businesses are also concerned with the off-peak hour (non-rush hour) delivery of goods. It was pointed out in the research that because businesses are concerned with congestion during both time periods, their views on traffic congestion differ from those of commuters. Solving rush hour and off-peak congestion is also more challenging than merely solving rush hour congestion.
The study stated that congestion affects employers in several ways. Primarily, it affects and impacts corporate activities such as shipping/receiving, logistics and distribution, client meetings and other business activities. It also limits worker availability and productivity by affecting employees’ commutes. In the Philippines, the effects of congestion on workers and employees are a sore issue. Congestion leads to workers arriving late; commuting hassles for workers, frustration/stress, long work commutes, long travel time, and loss of personal time.
In the Philippines, street, traffic or system problems are major issues. These include construction activities, accidents/incidents, inconvenient roads for customers and other causes of traffic such as safety issues, poor road design, traffic signals, and delays on specific roads.
In the case of Robinsons’, most of its employees live inside Bacolod city where the company’s headquarters are located. Many live in the South and North of Bacolod, and commute daily to get to work. They have to contend with various ongoing road projects, the massive volume of private cars and public utility vehicles that occupy the main roads.
To avoid getting trapped in the morning rush, Commuters and employees leave their homes at least an hour before their shift begins. Without traffic, the commute should take approximately 30 to 45 minutes of travel time. Of course, some employees still arrive late, but only for 5 to 10 minutes and seldom more.
Employers take a very serious stand against tardiness, as lateness is considered unprofessional. Some Companies has a biometric finger scanner and all staffs are required to scan in and out at the start and end of each day. At the end of each month, those who had many late days are notified and sanctioned.
Stephen Bentley, is a former police Detective Sergeant and barrister (trial attorney) from the UK. He is now a freelance writer and HuffPost UK blogger. A former police Detective Sergeant and barrister (trial attorney) from the UK. He is a freelance writer, bestselling Amazon author and Huffington Post UK blogger. He wrote a book based on his experience driving here in Bacolod.
How To Drive Like An Idiot In Bacolod
How to Drive Like an Idiot in Bacolod’ is the story of the British expat author’s “road culture shock” when faced with the hazards of driving in Bacolod, Philippines.Those hazards are vividly described in this book
Such feedback from the point of view of a person from outside of the country is bad publicity and contradictory to the claim that Bacolod is the “best city to live in.”
Implement and enforce more effective traffic rules and regulations. In this way, drivers will be knowledgeable of their actions and subsequent punishment thereto. They will be aware of their environment and create a discipline within them to follow the law intended for our safety and convenience. Drivers will not be able to stop, park and unload in areas that are not created or marked for the same activities respectively.
Passengers should also know where to unload themselves, so that some jeepney drivers will not be forced to stop at a point where it is not designated for them to unload passengers.
Traffic enforcers must also be strict in punishing violators because it is their job to regulate the course of traffic and have the power to discipline those who are not conforming themselves to the rules and regulations of the road.
The city should fund a budget for traffic solutions and add extra traffic enforcers. This also includes the review of salary and wages of traffic enforcers both regular and contractual.
To Lessen traffic congestion
Congestion appears to be worsening in the Philippines as wealthier Filipinos buy more vehicles and enjoy their improved spending power.
The Philippines loses P2.4 billion (Dh204 million) per day in potential income as a result of traffic congestion problems and lost productivity per (National Economic Development Authority)
Also, for a minute, suppose that 10,000 vehicles pass through each of main roads every day and each vehicle is able to save one liter of fuel per day due to congestion reduction. If fuel is priced an average of P45 /L, then this is easily equivalent to savings of 1,425,000 P per day per road. For 12 roads and assuming to include only travel on weekdays, the total savings per year can be computed as P4.212 billion.
In response to constantly mounting criticism, however, the Philippine government said that relief is underway. It said that the Local Government’s main focus of efforts is to ease traffic flow in Bacolod Main roads. There is also a campaign to remove unregistered buses from city roads. The government plans to lessen traffic at the soonest time on of its progress is repair and widening its road.
Various peripheral improvements in the City have been implemented but population growth and the commercial and economic development have also ensured that more business establishments use these main roads
Compounding the road situation in Bacolod and the poor drainage system, whenever the rain comes, commuters are often trapped for long hours in traffic. Bacolod LGU is doing flood mitigation plans. The government targets to pave all main roads by 2018-2019.
While total reduction of congestion is next to impossible in the Philippines, consistent and serious efforts to improve transportation infrastructure for Bacolod including much delayed mass transport systems can translate to genuine benefits. Such benefits include increased productivity and perhaps a healthier City population who have to contend with less stress and air pollution.
The business community in the Philippines is all for investing on transportation infrastructure to reduce congestion and lower costs associated with traffic jams. Continued procrastination over road and other infrastructure projects that should have been implemented long before will only leader to higher productivity losses.
The recent surge in the volume of private vehicles in Bacolod City has been identified as the number one culprit for the congestion of our roads as per our interviewee. After contemplating on the matter and hours spent observing the real action in identified hotspots, this should not be considered as a problem but an opportunity brought by progress. The challenges the city faces comes hand-in-hand with growth that is constant and must be viewed as an uncontrollable factor. Iloilo City is as well a booming city that is experiencing such surge, although are experiencing traffic but not to this extent. The objective is to have an organized and continuous flow of vehicles regardless of the time of day and it all boils down to how traffic is being regulated with the aid of traffic enforcers and how Bacolod drivers respond to such stimulus. Unfortunately, we had the same observation as with our BTAO source. Drivers of private vehicles would resort to disregard the rules just to escape the gridlock as if it was a race to win and as a result would only worsen the situation. Non-observance of traffic rules could either be the result of the ignorance of the law or just willful disregard, a product of the inconsistency in the implementation of rules since ancient times knowing the chances of you being pulled over is close to zero percent. Maybe because of the lack of manpower? Although, there are some responsible citizens who are adhering to what is expected of them, so kudos!
The lack of traffic enforcers was an issue raised, which is true, but long-term isn’t. The LGU doesn’t have enough funds to support the increase the number of heads in the workforce, for now, yes. But with the rampant number of violators in our roads, add that to the proper execution of action plans in place, we should be experiencing an increase in the number stops, therefore an increase in the amount of collected funds from fines which will most likely go the city’s coffers and will be used again to support the project.
Road constructions can be considered as hurdles but not permanent. As we have seen, the ongoing constructions or road rehabilitation supports the cause of improving traffic conditions. So this is not an issue, the issue begins post-construction wherein the added lanes serve as parking spaces mostly for private vehicles. Obstruction of Traffic or parking anywhere is commonly practiced in the city by both private vehicles and PUJs and it is sad that this is very evident as well in our identified choke points for authorities just tolerate such incidents.
PUJs are as well not an exemption and the most common violations observed are establishing terminal or loading and unloading passengers in areas where such practice is not allowed. This can be easily addressed if compliance is strict but of course, it isn’t. Our interviewee also mentioned, Lack of discipline, which is of course subjective. It is expected that if behavior is not curbed, it becomes a habit. This is a general term and can best describe the totality of the focus of this study.
Pedicabs and tricycles in National Highways are frequent. We have seen efforts from BTAO to tow vehicles that are out of route or are restricted in such pathways but after the meaningful event continues the habit.
Not to taint the reputation of our hard-working public servants but there is an issue beyond our senses can perceive. This gives rise to questions in leadership, accountability, mission and vision and clarity of objectives. The issue regarding the surge in the number of private vehicles should be viewed as something uncontrollable and action plans are to be focused on what can be controlled instead. What our traffic enforcers should center their focus on is what is on their job description, mainly, the regulation of traffic through education of drivers and issuance of tickets based on local traffic ordinances to permanently address these problems. In cases of disputes, presence of a highway patrol officer, acting as a supervisor, is highly recommended to speed up the process of settling them. A supervisor’s presence not only builds the morale of traffic enforcers’ but also avoid intimidation knowing that the powers vested in them are only limited.
The Land Transportation Office, working together with BTAO, on their end should reiterate the importance of seminars, explain the most common traffic violations and how to avoid them, and give importance to the test they conduct during license applications. This eliminates commonly-encountered alibis/reasons of not being aware; DURA LEX SED LEX.
There are speculations as well that the leniency is caused by the fear of our executive branch of negative reviews which would highly impact future election results. Who knows? This is just a mere speculation and beyond the scope of the study, but could be further discussed in future research works.
Ideally, improving public transportation, like having a train, is the best means of eliminating this once and for all. The proposition is although unrealistic in our case because it is costly.
Overall, the issue is a clear manifestation of poor communication in the chain of command. This should be received by our elected city officials as constructive criticism and pave the way to a better resolution to this everlasting issue. It is not a secret that the key to a successful action plan is communication, implementation, data analysis, reinforcing working and removal of ineffective policies, and follow up, all of which are to be done with consistency. This drives accountability and ownership of the issue which is expected from them and a way to ensure the public that their prayers are being heard. The city should capitalize on its state-of-the-art urban planning, since it was built in a way in which other neighboring cities weren’t. All it lacks is the follow up which the city is currently an embodiment of.
Best practices from other areas are to be considered as well to ease the burden on identifying what is necessary to combat real-time problems. The best example is installation of traffic signs, proper road markings, painting designated areas for loading and unloading, setting of speed limits and requiring businesses mandatory parking spaces in order to operate in or near critical areas which the city is definitely lacking thereof.
An idea of hiring private towing companies to aid BTAO in towing unregistered vehicles and manage traffic is somewhat feasible. An extra arm, compensated and driven to do a job clearly defined is the most practical way acquiring present-day technology without the need for maintenance money.
Bacolod City is recognized as the best city to live in. It has been growing at a stellar speed for the past decade and by resolving such driving dilemmas will only cement its status as second to none. This study is a not rant nor it is asking our public officials to take an amateur advice and pray for results. It exposes the city’s areas for improvement and suggests potential solutions that we can borrow form others that have been proven successful by mere effective communication or just because of consistent project spot checks and follow ups.
As private individuals, we also play a big role and impact. Responsible driving means lesser problems. As Filipinos, we are famous for being courteous, patient and respectful. If we can channel all of that and apply that in our driving regularly, then all of this will come to an end.
SOURCES and REFERRENCES
Karlo Caezar Homena
Gerard Joshua Gelera
Robert Senining, Jr.