WRITING about Bacolod’s erratic and oftentimes chaotic traffic situation seems superfluous because it has become so prevalent and apparently beyond solution talking about it only raises blood pressure a notch higher. But this must be written for two reasons: perhaps the city officials think all is fine and dandy and we accept it; secondly to put on record for the future to understand what it was under the administration of Mayor Evelio Leonardia and his cohorts.
Of course, they know the situation but why they do nothing except to issue press releases that they are studying the problem and even have asked outside help to provide a solution? The “outside help” from the Metro Manila Development Authority that came over here two months ago seems to have even been swallowed up by the traffic knot that they have not been heard of since then.
Two things: they could have been shocked and awed they did not know how to begin much less on what to do or the problem is too difficult or extremely complicated the solution is beyond their competence. So they gave up or are still studying or waiting for the 2019 post-election results.
The core of the traffic problem is Leonardia himself. Any solution to the problems of the city is anchored in the executive, whoever he or she is. As it stands, Leonardia is the mayor and he cannot say he has nothing to do with it or the responsibility lies elsewhere. No decision on any problem of the city, no matter the genius of the proposal for solution can correct the situation except by him. As President Harry Truman aptly puts it, “The buck stops here.”
I pointed out last month that Leonardia is the problem in the effort to solve the traffic problem relative to the urban slums of Bacolod with the proliferation of illegal structures and occupancy of public spaces. There were moves to clean the sidewalks which are major constraints to the flow of traffic, but after the press release about removing them, the city says wait after Christmas for humanitarian reasons.
Christmas is over, but then there is Chinese New Year next month and you can bet your devalued peso the streets will congest again. But we’ll address this matter next time. For now consider a very simple problem related to traffic that a kid can solve but Leonardia cannot or will not.
For months, there had been complaints that the traffic lights in Bacolod are unpredictable. One minute they are functioning and even before it could flash out a “go” signal, it is off. It could be vice-versa. Without warning the lights go on or off in mini-seconds. Either these are defective or not, nobody knows except Leonardia, the city officials and the traffic authority. We have yet to find one traffic light that does not go crazy.
Even traffic enforcers are at a loss. How often do we see them directing traffic different from the electric light signals? If that is queer or unique to Bacolod, I don’t know but I have gone to dozens of cities in this planet but have not seen this kind of traffic light behavior. Or maybe I haven’t seen it in others so I cannot comment on them. But here in Bacolod, it is the normal phenomenon.
What I know for certain is that the traffic lights in Bacolod are as erratic as the traffic routes that change with the temper of the moment or when it is changed to extend a favor. Maybe the traffic system in Bacolod is just a reflection of the mentality or policy of city officials to accommodate the favored people even at the expense of the public good.
Ask a kid what to do when something does not work as it should and he will quickly say “fix it or change it”.
Look as well at those iron traffic barriers that change now and then. You don’t know where the road is closed until you reach the end and there is the barrier that forces you to detour and take a longer route. Good for Leonardia and company because they do not pay for their fuel and they have city paid drivers, not counting the cameramen, bodyguards and photographers.
Leonardia is in command, his responsibility cannot be delegated.