A tripartite project seeking to draft a robust city ordinance to address the city’s traffic issue is underway. This initiative is led by Silliman University’s Dr. Jovito Salonga Center for Law and Development in partnership with the Dumaguete Lion’s Club and key local government units (LGU).
This Center-led activity owes its genesis to the recognition of the constitutional right of local governments to control and manage its own streets. Road congestion in many small cities like Dumaguete is an inevitable problem which comes with the increasing volume of people and business making its way here.
During a follow up meeting held late last month, several issues were identified. A cursory look at the existing penalties for traffic violations in the city exposed the Traffic Management Office’s (TMO) lack of teeth. For example, parking violations, causing the notorious problem of double parking in the city, will only cost the offender 50-100 pesos.
Center Director and College of Law Dean Atty. Mikhail Lee Maxino said, “Without an ‘inherent chilling effect’ attached to penalties, there is nothing to prevent vehicle owners and drivers in the city from violating traffic laws.” Increasing penalties for traffic violations would be among the objectives of the planned traffic ordinance.
The group also proposed changing the city’s truck ban schedule so that truck deliveries would only be allowed after 9pm but before 6am. Other short term solutions raised during the roundtable discussion were on exploring the use of vehicle clamps for parking violators and exploring a memorandum of agreement with the Land Transportation Office for renting space for a TMO booth in their office to ensure collection of fines for violations of the city’s traffic ordinances.
Long term solutions were also suggested, such as an aging ordinance for vehicles and partnerships with local business groups to introduce towing services in the city.