Sensitive local governance
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!*