I was extended an invitation by the Department of Tourism-Region VI (DOT-6) to watch the performances during the recent celebration of the Dinagyang Festival’s golden year in Iloilo City. From my seats, I noticed the likes of Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr., Senator Cynthia Villar, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, former Senators Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos and Jinggoy Estrada, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Tourism Promotions Board Cesar Montano, and Western Visayas presidential consultant Jane Javellana.
While among thousands of foreign and domestic tourists, along with local residents of Iloilo and the Western Visayas, I could not help but remark on the well-planned road management during the festival.
I was driving a car my friend lent me for the weekend.
We stayed at the impressive Grand Xing Imperial Hotel, near the Provincial Capitol, and drove along city streets, through the Jaro and Mandurriao districts of Iloilo City, and even to Pavia and the airport. City traffic enforcers were well-respected and were strict (but not arrogant). Every road passed was well-handled and the enforcers were not gathered together and chatting.
I could feel how effective road management was and the city’s traffic authority is not led by a police officer, it’s a city resident trusted by the local government. Private citizens have different training from law enforcement, who, by contrast, are trained to arrest and obey their superiors.
I am never irritated while driving, except when in the City of Smiles. Those in charge of traffic in Bacolod City have yet to adapt to road management – if they even know the definition. Discipline on the roads is about implementing sense and not apprehending violators.
My former boss at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and good friend, Bayani Fernando, is a remarkable manager of roads. His passion for road management made his efforts in Marikina City a success.
In a column published in August 2017, I wrote, “I was hired by then-Marikina City Mayor Bayani Fernando as his planner fifteen years ago.” When he hired me as his business adviser and manager, he was already in private business life. Months later, then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called him and said, “Bayani, gawin mo sa Metro Manila ang ginawa mo sa Marikina.”
Later that evening, over dinner, he said to me, “Toots, ikaw na bahala dito. Sabi ni President Gloria, kukunin nya aka bilang MMDA chairman;” and the rest is history, until the day he called on me to be by his said when he ran for vice president.
Yesterday, a friend in the media informed me the Bacolod City Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) is planning to submit a resolution to change the head of traffic in the city. To say the least, this shows the sun is shining brighter on the minds of local officials – better late than never. This news is a local motorist’s dream come true. There was too much grandstanding and no productivity at all – a show put on for the boss that impressed no one.
A prayer by motorists and other affected parties may soon be answered.
This column greets Ramon Cua Locsin, Danny Dangcalan, Dhada Garcia, Frank Carbon, Jenn Pabalinas, Herbert Vego, Maui dela Cruz, and Raymod Dabao./WDJ