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ROUGH CUTS | Opps, go slow on the speed limit change

ROUGHLY five days ago we tackled in this space the proposed ordinance introduced by third district
councilor Conrado Baluran mandating the further reduction of the speed limit of vehicles using the
Carlos P. Garcia Diversion Highway from the present 60 kilometers per hour (KPH) to 30 kph.

The proposal was an offshoot of several deadly road accidents in that particular highway over the last
six months or so. Our position on the matter is that at the rate the volume of vehicles using the highway
these days, the 60 kph speed limit can hardly be maximized by motorists. In fact we argued in our piece
that even a much reduced speed of vehicles in that particular road, accidents will still, or are bound to
happen for as long as undisciplined drivers are out there either to manifest their undesirable character
or to show their braggadocio.

There were other recommendations that we gave although these were far from being solicited. One
was putting very stringent requirements for those new license applicants as well as those who intend to
renew their licenses. On new applicants we pushed for a particular level of driving skills before any
student permit is converted to non-professional or professional. And if we may further add, license
applicants must be required to have some basic knowledge on vehicle engine repair or even in changing
tires. This way roadsides will be freed of possible presence of vehicles stalled while the driver is waiting
for a mechanic or tire man. Situations like this can be an accident waiting to happen.

Our article which was read by our social media friend Marlu Villarosa who happened to be an
auxiliary of the New York Police Department while still in the US, took notice of our observation
especially on the aspect of undisciplined drivers lording over Davao City’s major thoroughfares. Our
friend however hastened to add that contributory to the prevalence of undisciplined drivers is the lack
of consistency of traffic law enforcers’ presence on the city’s more frequently used roads and highways.
Even in the regularity of their enforcement activities, the inconsistency is clearly overt. Now they are
seen issuing tickets or leaving one at the wiper of erroneously parked vehicle sans its driver at this
particular time and street but missing even their shadows at another time.

Of course we understand that the police and the Land Transportation Office as well as the Highway
Patrol group do not have the luxury of personnel to man every road there is in the city. Thus, these
entities have all the reasons to justify their lack of presence in all critical thoroughfares at all times of
any day. But surely, if they have the will they will endeavor to find ways like maintaining continuously
mobile teams based on a clearly worked out schedule.

Somehow though, we have yet to see any semblance of this kind of approach by our traffic law
enforcement agencies. Instead, they do their traffic law enforcement activities on joint multi-agency
approach oftentimes effectively creating convergence of their thin manpower resources in a few
particular areas while leaving others free for the undisciplined drivers to do their thing unmolested.

Meanwhile, assuming that this proposed ordinance by Councilor Baluran will get approved by the
Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao City and signed by the mayor, has the proponent ever thought of the
duration of the effectivity of the ordinance?

We are raising this question even at this early because there are two major roads that are expected
to be added to the existing highways in the city. Anytime soon the multi-billion coastal highway and the
other big ticket project, the Davao City Bypass Road, will be completed and opened to motorists. These
infrastructures are considered top-of-the-line overland roadways intended to decongest the existing C.P.
Garcia Diversion road and the MacArthur Highway in the south as well as the J.P. Laurel National
highway in the north of the city.

Will the same speed limit be applied to the new superhighways, or the 30 kph ordinance
automatically lose its life as and the limit mandated by the said local law reverts to the 60 kph? Or,
which one of the 60 kph or 30 kph automatically applies to the two new superhighways?

We hope that if by chance the Honorable Baluran or anyone member of the Council’s Transportation
Committee read this subject of ours he or she will find time to ponder on this aspect before coming out
with a final version of the proposed ordinance to be submitted to the plenary for deliberation..


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