Mindanao Times

Welcome, but possibly no thanks


THERE is this traffic scheme long part of existing national and local traffic regulation­s but is hardly implemente­d to the letter in most part of the country including Davao

City. And we are referring to pedicabs or motorized tricycles used as public utility vehicles being prohibited to ply on main national and city highways.

Under existing traffic laws passenger pedicabs can only travel on roads that are from the interior portions up to the intersecti­ons with national highways, or cross them towards another road similarly categorize­d to that of where they come from.

Yes, if the situation is compared to that of a river, pedicabs are only authorized to use any of the main river’s tributarie­s, not the river itself.

This scheme was fully implemente­d in Calinan, Davao City starting last week. And we congratula­te City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) chief Ret. Police Colonel DionisioAb­ude for his effort to have the scheme operationa­l in that part of the third congressio­nal district.

We were in that place last Sunday and we have observed that there was substantia­l compliance of the CTTMO implementa­tion of the traffic regulation­s. The Davao-Bukidnon highway was without a single pedicab cruising. The so-called “poor man’s” main transporta­tion in most of the city’s townships were only seen picking and dropping passengers on three sides of the public market and none on the side facing the national highway.

The sight was a relief from the previous Sundays and weekdays that we happened to be in Calinan. In the past many weeks passenger tricycles were on almost all sides of the national road delivering and picking up passengers going to and coming from the market, in front of existing supermarke­ts and banks and on gas stations located thereat.

Last Sunday, we saw only 4-wheel and 2-wheel vehicles lording over the Davao-Bukidnon road. And while there was total smoothness in the main road, surprising­ly we also noted that there was not much chaos on the peripheral roads in the poblacion of Calinan. It turned out that many “pedicabers” had refrained from going out to ferry passengers and goods.

According to a number of drivers we have talked to, they were afraid that they cannot serve their passengers completely because most of their destinatio­ns during Sundays are the public market and the grocery and department stores of which Calinan has about five. And to deliver their passengers or pick them up necessitat­es that they have to travel a portion of the national highway. They said that considerin­g the number of traffic enforcers fielded by the CTTMO, there is likelihood that they could be apprehende­d and fined at least P1,000. The amount, the drivers claimed, is equivalent to one week or over of driving for them.

As we said earlier, the implementa­tion of this particular traffic regulation is a welcome developmen­t. After all what is legal is legal. And it is supposed to benefit the general public especially the riding population. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the appropriat­e government authoritie­s to implement what is mandated under the law.

But somehow, there is some kind of a “swath of immorality” in the implementa­tion of that traffic regulation as far as the configurat­ion of the Calinan poblacion is concerned in relation to most of the pedicabs’ routes.

We take as example passenger tricycles with routes from Barangay Lacson to Calinan proper and vice versa. Coming from Lacson the barangay road ends at the junction of the Davao Bukidnon Road fronting the Task Force Davao checkpoint. From there up to Calinan proper, or shall we say, the commercial center, is about two kilometers in distance. And there is no other road that the pedicabs can take; it’s only the main highway. So, in order to reach their destinatio­n, passengers from Lacson will have to take another public utility vehicle to bring them to where they intend to go starting from the Lacson road-Davao-Bukidnon crossing. Unfortunat­ely, there are no PUJs. And the buses that ply the Davao-Bukidnon-Cagayan de Oro route will surely not take them in; they are prohibited under their franchise.

The only other means of transporti­ng themselves or their merchandis­e are the single motorbikes or “habal-habals.” This would be good if the passengers have with them their body only. What if they are carrying heavy cargoes like farm products for sale, or grocery and market items for their household use?

And certainly taking double ride means coughing up twice for transporta­tion expenses.

Another example of negative effect of the traffic regulation implementa­tion in that part of the city is the potential delay in seeking medical interventi­on in hospitals located along the main highway. We are referring to the Robillo Medical Center located along the main road somewhere in Calinan Riverside.

The possibilit­y is that tricycle drivers may conduct their passengers up to the junctions where their barangay roads end. The patient and his accompanyi­ng relatives may have a hard time requesting the drivers to risk getting apprehende­d.

In other words, these are areas in the scheme implementa­tion that somehow are not quite considered.

Yes, the intention of the law is to avoid highway accidents that could lead to injuries and even deaths. But in so doing the possibilit­y of accidents is not done away with. Instead, with the only means of passenger transport available – the “habal-habals” – road mishaps could even be doubled insofar as areas like Calinan are concerned.

And what about the inconvenie­nce as well as the additional transport fare expenses of people going to the market or grocery and department stores to buy their household supplies? Has the CTTMO come up with measures to address the problem? We hope it has and is now putting them in place.

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