Public roads ‘leased’ as terminals, parking areas for private gain | Inquirer Opinion
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Public roads ‘leased’ as terminals, parking areas for private gain

/ 12:16 AM June 23, 2017

Quezon City’s Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), under the Office of the City Mayor (OCM), is supposedly tasked, among other things, to provide “order and safety” in the streets of Quezon City outside of Edsa. We have been repeatedly calling its attention  to jeepney drivers constantly breaking the law, especially the one that requires headlights to be turned on at night—but all to no avail.

In that office, all complaints about a myriad of other violations jeepney drivers commit on the road daily just seem to pass from one ear to the other without getting processed anywhere between. It has led to the nastiest of suspicions that a well-entrenched syndicate has been making a killing, in the form of payola, from thousands of jeepney operators. How else can anyone explain the latter’s wanton recklessness without even so much as being flagged down for posing a threat to public safety?

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Not content with making a mockery of the most basic traffic rules and regulations, the same syndicate—or perhaps another more “enterprising” group of kotongeros—is now virtually “leasing” parts of roads to jeepney operators for their use as terminals during the day, and as private garage at night. Last we checked, no barangay or city ordinance has allowed the conversion of any such areas into anyone’s private domain.

Traffic along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City has always been a nightmare to motorists. Congestion was somehow reduced by about 25 percent when Esteban Abada Street was opened as a short cut for vehicles coming from the east on Marcos Highway and going under the Katipunan Avenue-Aurora Boulevard (K-A) flyover, and then westbound on Xavierville Avenue. But because jeepney drivers have completely occupied that K-A juncture, the Abada
access has been blocked to avert more gridlock. See how that unruly bunch is being pampered?

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This is therefore an appeal to the OCM: Rein in the rotten elements of the DPOS who have become the biggest obstacle to all efforts to ease traffic on Katipunan Avenue. That space under the K-A flyover should be free from any obstruction. Being public property and, therefore, “beyond the commerce of man,” it cannot be “leased” to anyone. How hard is it to pinpoint the douchebag who let that happen?

And to think that the bright boys of the Duterte administration are said to be racking their brains for solutions to the traffic mess in Metro Manila—solutions that would entail multibillion-peso budgets from more onerous taxes—like putting up infrastructures for cable cars in the sky (which is by far the silliest, given Metro Manila’s topography), or subterranean trains when the ones over land cannot even be properly maintained. Imagine then being also stuck much deeper than six feet under the ground.

There are definitely simpler, cheaper and more immediately doable remedies already staring our traffic managers in the face or just under their noses—if only they had the integrity, common sense and the guts to ram them down the throats of reckless drivers who continue to make road trips in Metro Manila a living hell.

STEPHEN L. MONSANTO,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City,
[email protected]

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TAGS: Jeepney drivers, order and safety, Public Safety, Road accidents
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