Councilors devise stop-gap traffic measures

BAGUIO CITY – The city council on Monday decided to request the Transport and Traffic Management Committee (TTMC) to create a sub-committee or technical working group tasked to devise a traffic plan for December until the summer months when tourist arrivals is at its peak.

The council also passed a resolution ordering hotels, inns, and similar establishments to post signs instructing their guests to leave their cars in the parking lot and use public transportation instead or walk to their desired destinations.

These are the stop-gap measures the city council came up with after Acting City Engineer II Edgar Victorio Olpindo said the newly created office in charge of traffic and transportation, a division under his office, is not yet functional because employees have not been hired considering that the City Human Resource Management Office is in the process of publishing the vacant positions for hiring.

This new office, as the council described it, is supposed to be Baguio’s version of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), a government agency whose primary mandate includes the development and implementation of long-term transport and traffic management measures in the nation’s capital.

Olpindo said the positions under this new office are still vacant but he assured local legislators that the process for the hiring of the qualified personnel is being processed. He informed the council that traffic management is still under the jurisdiction of the Philippine National Police (PNP) while engineering interventions are under his office.

Councilor Michael Lawana urged Olpindo to “fight for these positions” in light of the burgeoning traffic problems the summer capital is facing. “The number one problem of Baguio now is traffic,” Councilor Joel Alangsab said.

Last week, Mayor Mauricio Domogan was prompted to suspend classes for two days due to the unexpectedly high volume of cars in Baguio, caused by tourists taking advantage of work and class suspensions during the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila.

The council wants to prevent a similar situation from happening, especially during the coming Christmas holidays. “We have information that hotels are already almost fully booked for the last week of December,” Councilor Elmer Datuin said.

Baguio City Police Chief Inspector Denver Guzman, for his part, said that they have already devised a traffic plan for December.

With the decision to create the TTMC sub-committee, the city council hopes to put in place a broader and longer traffic plan that will not only cover the Christmas holidays but also the Panagbenga Festival and the summer months.

By IryllSicnao

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