Mayor mulls inviting critics to lecture, witness traffic enforcers at work

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Monday challenged the critics of the city’s transport management system to immerse themselves with the traffic cops, amid a negative approval rating from a commissioned survey.

The Hiligaynon-language survey conducted by Random Access Consultants, Inc. (RACI) indicated a –12 percent net satisfaction rating on the question, “Are you contented with the management of traffic in Iloilo City?”

Although 41.3 percent of respondents said they were “Contented”, 41.0 were “Not contented” and 13.0 “Strongly not contented”, while 4 percent had no opinion and only 0.7 percent were very contented.

Despite this, the city’s current jeepney route scheme garnered a net satisfaction rating of 33 percent, with 61.3 percent “Contented” and 2 percent “Strongly contented”, while only 23.7 percent are “Not contented” and 5.7 percent are “Strongly not contented”, and 7.3 percent have no opinion.

Satisfaction with urban development was also high, with the rehabilitation of plazas getting a rating of 82.7 percent and public markets at 80.9 percent.

In response to the “glaring” negative rating of the survey, the mayor said in a statement on Wednesday night that the Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) headed by Jeck Conlu would work on improving the quality of traffic management.

He later pointed to the ongoing situation along the border between the city and its neighboring town of Pavia, particularly the areas within and near the premises of the controversial Ungka Flyover.

“There are questions what are the reasons for this [negative 12 percent] score? In the meantime, we will do our best to address these issues which are identified by our constituents. Retraining of our [PSTMO], employment of experts, coordination with [Metro Manila Development Authority] for training will immediately be made by the office of [Conlu],” the mayor said in a statement.

“Ungka Flyover is mostly under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Pavia. The jurisdiction of Iloilo City is only up to the approach after Christ the King [Memorial Park]. It only shows that for the PSTMO under [Conlu], they have to show their presence at all times; to assist in the traffic and not only to apprehend; to be at the center of the streets and not along the sidewalks blowing their whistles; to show their dedication to their work and to the Ilonggo community,” he added.

Treñas on Thursday also revived his jabs at critics of the city’s transport system and mentioned the “traffic academy” that the city government had set up recently.

He even invited critics as lecturers and pay their honoraria out of his pocket, the same way he commissioned the survey.

“When traffic management was transferred to the city government thru the Local Government Code there was no local academy where training of traffic aides can be made. We try to look for ways to improve our traffic aides and we will continue to do so. I will further instruct [Conlu] to invite our frequent and very loud [critics] to give our traffic aides an 8-hour lecture with actual field work so that we can learn from them since they seem to know better,” he said.

Conlu himself told the media that while he and the mayor wouldn’t regularly respond to bashers “because they weren’t new”, “there must be times when we would respond to them,” citing that the criticism may be too detrimental to the city.