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GWEN CREATES TRAFFIC BOARD
By: Vanessa L. Almeda | Published Saturday, November 09, 2019
That Monday, October 14 when the Cebu Provincial Board declared a traffic crisis was the same day Gov. Gwen Garcia’s vehicle was stuck in traffic along Don Gil Garcia St., just a few meters away from the Capitol. She decided to disembark her vehicle and walk through the traffic to make it to the flag raising ceremony. (Tonee Despojo)

INVOKING her inherent right as an elected public official who is tasked to protect the general welfare of the public, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia signed on Thursday, November 7, Executive Order No. 24 creating the Cebu Traffic Management Board that would give solutions to the traffic problems along national highways in the metropolitan Cebu area.

The Provincial Traffic Management Board (PTMB) will be composed of the governor as the chairman, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as vice chairman; Provincial Board (PB) chairman of the committee on planning and development; PB chairman on the committee on public works, highways and infrastructure; regional director of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Provincial Director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and regional director of the Highway Patrol Group, as members.

To further assist the board in “making well-informed decisions”, the EO also created the Advisory Council.

Garcia, in a press conference, said the traffic condition in Metro Cebu and the neighboring cities and towns “is worsening and reaching crisis proportion.”

“I take upon myself the duty to see to it that we shall work together with our local government units, with the proper government agencies in order that we may once again restore order in our national roads and that the safety, convenience and general welfare of our constituents shall be ensured,” Garcia told members of the press.

It was last month when the PB approved a resolution recognizing that there is a traffic crisis in Cebu citing a 2018 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that Cebu’s economy loses P1.1 billion on a daily basis due to the worsening traffic congestion.

GENERAL WELFARE

Section 16 of the Local Government Code states that, “every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.”

Further, Section 465 (b) (2) (iii) provides that she can issue executive orders “for the faithful and appropriate enforcement and execution of laws and ordinances.”

Garcia said that with the absence of an entity that could harmonize and establish common rules among LGUs that are traversed by national roads, “then I believe that it is my responsibility as governor of Cebu to provide this platform by virtue of an executive order.”

The traffic board shall formulate a traffic management plan that should be in harmony with the traffic management plan of the concerned local government unit.

“This board shall set the policies that should govern national roads and it shall call on the proper implementing agencies to implement existing laws with regard to the use of national roads,” Garcia said.

The Advisory Council will be composed of the mayors of all component cities of Cebu province as well as mayors or representative of Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City; and president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

The Council will be the one to provide strategic advice to the Board that will help calibrate an efficient and effective mechanism for traffic management and aid the Board in identifying traffic concerns and problems within their respective jurisdictions.

ROUNDABOUTS VS FLYOVERS

After a recent meeting with the governor, DPWH Regional Director Director Edgar Tabacon said the agency may construct roundabouts sometime in 2021 as these are less expensive.

He added that they going back to the drawing board and reconsider putting up roundabouts and U-turn slots instead of flyovers as they have earlier planned and plotted.

Tabacon said they are heeding to the governor’s suggestion of putting roundabouts because they are less expensive and easier to implement and according to studies abroad, reduced vehicle-related accidents.

“We are considering it for implementation. We are still in the stage of studying, but it is very feasible,” he said.

One area they are looking at is a portion of Cebu South Coastal Road. The rest of the towns, Tabacon said they are going to conduct an ocular inspection to identify which areas are ideal for roundabouts and U-turn slots.

Tabacon also said that they have identified 25 areas in Cebu for construction of flyovers next year, but this might change. The roundabouts, though, will have to be implemented by 2021 since the 2020 budget appropriation was already completed.  (Vanessa L. Almeda)