By Joseph B.A. Marzan
The recent fires in two Molo district barangays bared the importance of road clearing to public safety.
Thus, the Iloilo City Government’s transportation office is pushing for the creation of transportation committees in barangay councils to address the problem of congested roads.
Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) head Jeck Conlu revealed this proposal to Daily Guardian on Air last Friday, February 3.
He explained that this “Committee on Public Safety and Transportation Management” would be the community-level version of the City Council’s Committee on Transportation.
Conlu said the committee will regulate parking, illegal structures, and obstructions on barangay roads which would ultimately “create a culture of discipline” in those areas.
He added that they are pushing for this measure with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“[This is so] that our barangay officials themselves may be able to craft barangay ordinances within their area of responsibility in regulating parking and other [transport-related matters],” Conlu said.
“Roads in some barangays here in [Iloilo City] are so small that even smaller vehicles cannot pass due to their present situations. Most of the time, these are also the most densely populated in the city. These [barangay-level] committees, will [have the] barangay captains who are always there to push their barangay councilors to assist, even gradually, with transport,” he added.
Conlu clarified that this would be separate from the Barangay Council on Peace and Order, and would allow for a greater focus on transportation management and anti-road obstruction matters.
He also noted the worry of barangay officials who simply wish to reprimand their residents and visitors to refrain from illegal parking and placing some structures that could obstruct roads.
Local officials are apprehensive of getting the ire of some residents, especially with the barangay elections in October 2023.
“With the additional committee to be added similar to that in the City Council, we could create a better program. The marching order from [Iloilo City] Mayor Jerry Treñas from Day 1 is the continuous clearing of illegal parking in the city, but of course, we have limitations because the city is big and we could not cover the 180 barangays at the same time,” he stated.
“Barangay officials are requesting [assistance for road clearing] from our office and we are helping them one-by-one because with 180 barangays, how many [narrow] streets would there be? Our barangay officials need help because they have limited resources, and there are [specific] situations in barangays, so it would be difficult,” he added.
Narrow streets in Brgy. West Habog-habog in Molo district were seen by Treñas and other city officials as one of the causes for the fast spread of the fire which ravaged more than a hundred houses in that barangay as well as neighboring Brgy. San Juan in the early morning of January 28.