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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 1, 2016
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Come to think of it
with Carlos Antonio L. Leonardia
OPINIONS

Transition

come

Thank you and goodbye to Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III, the 15 th President of the Philippines. May history treat him well and may he finally find true love. If not, I hope he gets to finally own his dream car.

Congratulations and good luck to Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the 16 th President of the Philippines. Long may he reign.

That's all I can say about him for now because it is just his first day as president and I have promised to wait for the proverbial rubber to hit the road before making any comments. I wish him all the best in his endeavors to change this country because I'd rather heap praise than criticize. My fervent wish is that one day, hopefully 3-6 months from now, the performance and achievements of PRody will have converted me into a bandwagoning, card-carrying (meaning license-plate and bumper stickered) Dutertard. That's a little optimistic considering it took me a little more than 3 years to become a Noytard, but since I still don't have a license plate, there's definitely room for a DU30 plate as soon as I see the light.

On the local side, the new local officials have already officially taken over so they can't blame the old officials for whatever problems that are plaguing their towns and cities anymore.

This is so true for Bacolod City that has quite literally been hell these past few days. Traffic has been terrible, streets have been flooding, garbage piling up, and the street vendors vending. I wish the new administration the best of luck in sorting out the epic mess that has been unceremoniously dumped on their laps. That's what they get for giving their political opponent a beat down of epic proportions. So get to work. Resist the temptation to blame the past by crying sabotage. Just find solutions. Quickly!

Traffic should normalize as soon as the traffic enforcers get back to work. It should get a little better when the new traffic guys tweak the traffic light timers that seemed to have been left on default ever since they were installed. That's the easy part as far as traffic is concerned. The hard part is making it better. This is where I have serious doubts and I really wish I could be proven wrong.

Here are a few suggestions to the new traffic czar after the enforcers are redeployed:

I'd continue the no parking policy along main roads. If not possible, there must be strictly no double parking and/or waiting. Emphasis on strictly.

Focus on a few traffic violations but enforce those strictly. My choice of violations to be enforced are:

•  No beating the red light or keep intersection open. Any vehicle that finds itself inside the yellow box when the light is red must be punished.

•  Jaywalking. This covers people who don't cross on pedestrian crossings as well as people who cross when the light is green. People who get off jeepneys in the middle of the road are also jaywalkers and deserve to be apprehended and fined.

Enforcement can be done by traffic enforcers as long as they are backed up with a cop. Identify problem areas, put a couple of enforcers and a cop, and start handing out violations. They can hand out warnings for the first month and start charging fines after that. A cop will be needed because violators will respect the enforcer if one is in sight.

Why focus on just two violations? Because those two violations are simple, easy to spot, and hard to argue against. Your enforcers don't have to know the entire traffic code. Car in the yellow box when light is red? Bang! Pedestrian not on crossing? Boom! No ifs, no buts.

The thing about authorities starting to enforce laws, even just two laws out of a thousand ordinances, is that people will start obeying the rest of the laws because they see people getting caught and penalized. With a president like Digong Duterte in power, local authorities should take advantage of the leeway to be stricter these days. I'd love to see this 2-violation suggestion being given a shot.

As for the floods that we've seen these days, that is a little bit trickier. The way I see it, Bacolod's drainage system doesn't work because floodwater are flowing ON the roads, looking for a natural drain when they should be flowing INTO the drains that are UNDER the roads. The floods subside quickly because we still have natural drains but the fact of the matter is that there are floodwaters because the storm drain system has been ignored and is probably either undersized or clogged and therefore useless.

Bacolod's engineers need to look at where the flood prone areas are. That's easy because the daily torrential rains help show where those are. Then they have to check the storm drains there. Is it clogged with human filth? Did the contractor that built it leave construction debris in it, rendering it useless? Does the drain lead to a drain or does it end in a dead end? Things wouldn't get this bad if the person responsible had been doing his job but that is no excuse anymore. The people of Bacolod are drowning and blaming the idiot who made it possible won't solve the problem. This flooding problem is what the current administration gets for beating the previous one that has been granted the luxury of a hot and dry El Niño where ignoring the storm drain system isn't noticeable because there were no storms.

The last few days of the old administration show us that the next few months of the new administration will be a monumental challenge. Bacolod City has become hell on earth every time it rains and nobody cares. Will it be better soon? I can only hope so or I'd have to seek employment elsewhere as the hassles of getting to work in the Bacolod area every day might become too much for people like me.*

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