Iloilo City, its traffic, officials and TDZ – Part 7

By D’Observer

(The author is a real person who fell in love with Iloilo. He wants to remain anonymous due to some “complications” but still, he raises very valid issues)

In the last two to three months, there have been several articles about the TDZ (Traffic Discipline Zone) at the Diversion Road and a forthcoming TDZ at the McArthur Drive, as traffic congestions in some areas have become “unmanageable.”

Well, that’s what I have been writing for a couple of years. In the TDZs, all local ordinances and national road laws will be strictly implemented. This sounded to me like a dream come true, but will it become a constant reality?

I still see lots of people using their phones while driving, religious objects are back in many taxis, public utility jeepneys (PUJs), and private cars; the noise level caused by some motor bikes is still too high, the Pedestrian Protection Act is still being disregarded, 5-6 meters long bamboos are still being transported by pedicabs and tricycles on National Road No. 5. Only upon the implementation of the ordinances and laws some people followed them, but soon after, it all went back as it was before, and the authorities did not do much about it. Is that all going to change now?

So, what is the meaning of the word “dis·ci·pline”?  The noun “dis·ci·pline” is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience, a lack of proper parental and school discipline.” The verb “to dis·ci·pline” means “to train (someone) to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.

Google also states “many parents have been afraid to discipline their children.” Here is an example: A couple of days ago a mother brings her son to school, who wants to cross the street at the nearby marked pedestrian crossing, but the mother disagreed and so failed to train the son to obey rules and regulations. Most likely the mother was also never taught to obey rules by her mother.

Well, the lack of discipline is very deep-rooted since long in Iloilo City and beyond. To change it, will be an “uphill battle” I fear, but by the above definition we now understand why we have such ‘unmanageable’ traffic situation nowadays.

On February 17, I passed by the TDZ Diversion Road from the Circumferential Road to SM City. After the first intersection, I noticed  a couple of guys dressed in all shades of blue, who tried to stop two cars without any joy. The cars just continued their trip at high speed. Further along the road, I noticed two PNP cars parked on opposite lanes. Two PNP officers tried to stop a car at high speed, again without any success.

This observation raises several questions: 1. Did these drivers have something to hide?  2. Was it just the complete disrespect for law and order?  3. Are such drivers psychologically fit to drive a car?

I hope the drivers got caught by the authorities, fined accordingly and their licenses revoked for good.

Meanwhile, Public Safety and Traffic Management Office (PSTMO) head Jeck Conlu stated that pedestrian are the top violators at Diversion Road, which does NOT come as a surprise, because the people here don’t like to walk any additional meter. These are also the people who ask the PUJ driver to stop wherever it is of utmost convenient for them. Often enough it is just a matter of a few meters and it causes traffic congestion. It is imperative that PUJs are allowed to stop ONLY at certain loading/ unloading areas to maintain reasonable good traffic flow.

Conlu also stated some time earlier that Jaro and Mandurriao topped the numbers of traffic violations and by that the officials will know what to expect once the TDZ at McArthur Drive, Jaro is implemented. It is a bit worse than on the Diversion Road.

I fully agree with PSTMO head J. Conlu that the penalties are far too low, and I mentioned it in an earlier contribution to this paper. I paid 25 years ago PhP50 (or a day in jail) for jaywalking in front of SM-Delgado, therefore it should be now at least PhP200 or two days in jail. Other penalties should start at PhP500, for which my pulmonary doctor disagrees. He wants penalties to start at PhP5,000.

I appreciate that the authorities realized it is imperative to show who is in charge in Iloilo City whenever traffic is concerned. Just by posting signs stating “Observe traffic rules and road courtesy” wasn’t surely not enough and more actions by authorities were required over a lengthy period and NOT JUST SEASONAL.

I hope the so called “TDZ” actions bring the long overdue change.  Anyhow, there are much less tricycles on Diversion Road, but how will it be in nighttime when the guys dressed in all shades of blue are NOT around?

One more thing to suggest, before declaring the TDZ at the McArthur Drive, the Department of Public Works and Highways has to repaint the street markings, which are non-existing since the last works on the McArthur Drive