Sen­si­tive lo­cal gov­er­nance

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

I WAS head­ing to Araneta Street early last Thurs­day to process some doc­u­ments at a car dealer shop. Since I was not in a hurry and since I wanted to get fa­mil­iar with the main routes in the city, I de­cided to take a pub­lic util­ity jeep­ney ply­ing Punta Tay­tay. As we passed through SM City Ba­colod a mob of driv­ers tried to stop our ride as they re­peat­edly banged the side of our jeep while shout­ing at our driver.

With what lit­tle Hili­gaynon I can com­pre­hend I learned that they were on strike against the new route scheme im­ple­mented by the traf­fic of­fice.

While I was ob­serv­ing our driver I could sense how em­bar­rassed he was for not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the strike but then he also ut­tered like “But I need money today to feed my fam­ily (or some­thing to that ef­fect).”

Such con­trast­ing re­al­i­ties of two driv­ers, one try­ing to sur­vive the day while the group of driv­ers on strike were try­ing to sur­vive in a longer term. Both are ac­tu­ally vic­tims of an un­fa­vor­able sit­u­a­tion.

On that spe­cific sit­u­a­tion, it was so glar­ing to see just how ex­pen­sive freedom can be. To one driver it means not feed­ing his fam­ily for a day or two. Not ev­ery­one can af­ford that.

This is what usu­ally hap­pens when there is ur­gency in im­ple­ment­ing change, cer­tain short­cut pro­cesses are taken. In fair­ness to the city traf­fic of­fice concern some­times the ur­gency dic­tates for some mea­sures to be drastic espe­cially when the in­ten­tion was quite noble, i.e., to re­di­rect traf­fic to Ven­dors Plaza as soon as pos­si­ble so as to help sup­port the newly re­lo­cated ven­dors as well as to de­con­gest main streets in the city.

Upon ask­ing my staff and some friends who are tak­ing such route everyday, they were gen­er­ally open to the new traf­fic scheme. It would be safe to say that the com­muters are not as af­fected by the change and were quite quick to ad­just. But not the driv­ers.

Yesterday’s news re­ported that all they (driv­ers’ group) wanted were to be al­lowed to pick up pas­sen­gers at pub­lic plaza and at SM area since their in­come were greatly af­fected by the new traf­fic scheme.

Coun­cilor Dindo Ramos, chair­per­son of the City Coun­cil com­mit­tee on trans­porta­tion, was quick to reach out to the driv­ers and held a di­a­logue with them that morn­ing. The talk re­sulted to a res­o­lu­tion in fa­vor of the driv­ers. Now that is what we call sen­si­tive and re­spon­sive gov­er­nance. The driv­ers can­not just be pushed aside in the name of progress. No one should be left be­hind. That’s in­clu­sive devel­op­ment, and from the looks of it specif­i­cally in this con­text, it seems that the city is on the right track.

Ku­dos to City Coun­cilor Dindo Ramos!*

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