Iloilo City, its traffic and officials (2)

By: D’Observer

(THE author is a real person who fell in love with Iloilo and, well, an Ilongga. He wants to remain anonymous due to some “complications” but still, he raises very valid points in his contributions – Editor)

WITHOUT any doubt, Iloilo City has grown in many areas very fast in the last 20 years and so has the traffic with all its problems.

But has the mindset and behavior of its people and officials grown at a similar speed?

Incidents, accidents and attempts to deal with the obvious problems raise serious doubts. Loads of city ordinances, laws and regulations have been passed, but have they been enforced by the authorities to counter the rapidly increasing number of accidents and fatalities?

Traffic lights have been posted, but too many of them don’t work any longer. The “intersection of too many accidents and deaths,” MacArthur Drive – Circumferential Road, is getting traffic lights finally, but do people have to be killed first before authorities take preventive measurements?

Recently, I learned of a comment by a Senator, that Filipino drivers are stupid. I partially agree with it, but why is it like this? Have the authorities enforced ordinances, laws, and regulations? Have applicants for a driver’s license given proper traffic education, training & examinations before they hit the roads?  A few weeks ago I met a guy who was issued a driver license at the age of 12 (twelve) years. His uncle applied for it and a friend of the uncle issued the license. Hard to believe, but true …

Let’s face it, too many drivers, or “idiots behind the steering wheel” have become extremely selfish and pride themselves with violating the laws and regulations, due to the weak law enforcement in Iloilo City, AND KILL …  Anyway, law enforcement seems to be mostly seasonable (i.e. Christmas, Easter etc).

The recent killing on Diversion Road is an extremely sad example for the traffic situation in Iloilo City and the failure of the authorities. It happened early morning, hardly any traffic on a Saturday morning, four lanes either way, a driver in a sports car and the complete disregard for traffic laws and regulations, a deadly combination for two people. The woman was the cousin of a friend of mine. I hope the driver gets a fair trial and justice will prevail.

Lots of people will bring forward their suggestions on how to prevent a similar accident to happen again and to make life on our roads safer. This recent killing could happen anywhere in Iloilo City because of the rampant disregard for traffic ordinances, laws, and regulations.

In my opinion, there is only one solution, “BACK TO BASICS”. Enforce and penalize violations of traffic ordinances, laws, and regulations, no matter how minor the violation and “sans favor,” to re-establish law and order on Iloilo’s streets again.

The incoming flow of money has to be used for employment of more traffic aides, as well as better training and better wages of traffic aides. Singapore has shown that such measurements will work to solve the problem, but there has to be also the will power by the authorities to do it. The intelligent traffic system or ITS could be a useful tool, provided there is constant power supply.

Every driver involved in an accident or any violation has to undergo a “refresher” course on traffic rules (i.e. Street Markings, Pedestrian Protection Act, etc) before getting the drivers license back. Who are the ones mostly involved in accidents? PUJ & taxi drivers as well as motorcycle riders are involved in about 75% of all accidents.

It also should not be forgotten to penalize pedestrians for any violation and educate them. Too many still cross the streets wherever it suits them. Remember, we are living meanwhile in the 21st century and not in the nineteen fifties with hardly any traffic.

Parents, teachers and officials have to teach the pupils and students to make use of the nearest pedestrian crossing and not cross wherever they want. But parents, teachers and officials also have to be good examples and make use of the nearest pedestrian crossing, which is unfortunately not too often the case.