Iloilo’s traffic problems – final issue

By: D’ Observer

(The author is a real person who fell in love with Iloilo and, well, an Ilongga. He wants to remain anonymous due to some “complications” but still, he raises very valid points in his contributions – Editor)

IN my last contribution, I mentioned the November 14, 2017 headline of this newspaper “Mayor halts P25-M traffic system project”. His reason, amongst others, was “the problem of the traffic had yet to be identified”.

I wrote that the primary root cause of Iloilo’s traffic problem is the lack of willpower to implement/ enforce the existing ‘Traffic Rules & Regulations & Traffic Signs’, as well as the existing City Ordinances by previous administrations.

Here are some examples from the “Revised Schedule of Fines & Penalties for Violations of Rules & Regulations governing Land Transportation – Violations of Traffic Rules & Regulation” Section J. All other Violations of Traffic Rules & Regulations:

“Rule 1.b: Parking within 5 meters of the intersection.” Does anybody care if they block the clear view at an intersection following this rule? Just see the entrance of Alta Tierra Village where PUJ park to load passengers.

“Rule 2: Disregarding Traffic Signs.” On February 8, 2018 I had to do an emergency braking to avoid colliding with a motorbike at the intersection Tacas Road/Circumferential Road where the motor biker disregarded the ‘Give Way’ & STOP traffic sign. Anyway, hardly anybody respects that traffic sign anyhow.

“Rule 22: Overtaking at no overtaking zone…” At the Circumferential Road, this is a common happening by using even the opposite lane.

“Rule 27: Failure to yield right of way- Failure of a vehicle entering a highway from a private road …” Due to this failure several accidents, followed by traffic congestion, have happened outside the Grand Plains Subdivision in Jaro.

“Rule 46: Pick up and Drop of Passengers outside the terminal.” We all know that taxis and PUJ pick up & drop passengers wherever they want by disregarding any ‘No loading/ unloading’ signs and creating traffic congestions and accidents. Does anybody of the responsible authorities care at all?

Then we have certain street markings regulations which state; “Solid White Lanes – which are used to separate opposing streams (lanes) of traffic. Crossing is unlawful except where ample distance exists and where the opposing traffic lane is clear of traffic.” These are streets with more than one lane either way, like Luna Street in LaPaz, Mc Arthur Highway in Jaro and many others.

Of course, this rule does not seem to apply to taxi drivers, who love to make U-turns to pick up passengers on the opposite side of the street, block recklessly other cars and cause traffic congestions and accidents.

Does anybody of the responsible authorities care?

The ‘Pedestrian Protection Act of 2013’ gives us clarification how to behave as a pedestrian and as a driver of a motor-driven vehicle.

  1. Where sidewalks are provided pedestrians shall, unless required by other circumstances, walk along the sidewalks. Where no sidewalks are provided, pedestrians should walk on the left side of a public road facing the traffic.
  2. The driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk (pedestrian crossing) where a sign so indicates shall stop and remain stopped, to allow a pedestrian to cross the road. However, no pedestrian should walk into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
  3. When a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, to allow a pedestrian to cross the road, no other vehicle should overtake the stopped vehicle.
  4. A pedestrian may not cross an intersection diagonally, (just watch one of the intersections around Jaro Plaza, despite all the crosswalk markings)
  5. Persons found guilty in violation of the above shall be penalized with a fine between P1,000 and 5,000 or imprisonment between 1 month and 1 year.

These are just a few main points of the ‘Pedestrian Protection Act of 2013’ and what do we encounter daily in Iloilo City?  More or less the opposite of the above, or not?  Does anybody of the responsible authorities care?

Then there are the slow tricycles and pedicabs on the national roads (i.e. 5, 509, 516, etc) which are another obstacle to the traffic flow. Nobody stops them apparently.

Please note: ‘Not observing and/ or following ‘Traffic Rules & Regulations & Traffic Signs’ can and will cause accidents, plus traffic congestion and ultimately death, as the relatives of some motorcycle riders know too well.

Having observed the traffic for a few years I would categorize the majority of traffic participants here, i.e. drivers & pedestrians, as analphabets, ignorant and colorblind.

Will there be an improvement for Iloilo’s traffic situation in the near future? The name of a taxi gives us the answer: “We are ‘LIGHTYEARS’ away from it”.

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