THE call for justice for the deaths of public school teachers Joe Marie Osano and Alnie Dinah Osano should not be a one-time thing or a matter of pa-uso. We should keep in mind that many other people have died because of road idiots behind the steering wheel.
Again, the Osano tragedy becomes a wakeup call (for the nth time) for public administrators and safety advocates to the inadequate and even zero regard for road safety.
To add context to the issue, we should take into consideration the designs and administrators of our roads. In the case of the busy Diversion Road in Mandurriao, Iloilo City, it’s design and care is under the Department of Public Works and Highways, particularly the Iloilo City District Engineering Office. The signage, markings, and other appurtenances are the responsibility of DPWH.
The issues of pedestrian lanes at U-turn slots and provision of pedestrian over/underpasses should be DPWH’s work. Sadly, the overpass near San Rafael area (going to Atria Park District) was hounded by “useless” elevators, until it was made operational early this year due to the media maelstrom it caused.
The local government can invoke and exercise its autonomy by passing laws regulating the use of roads within its jurisdiction but it will still need the help of DPWH. But the city government cannot shirk from its responsibility in the light of the speed limit ordinance and proposed intelligent traffic system (ITS).
While it may not be perfect, the ITS could be the ultimate solution not just to the lack of traffic discipline but in anticipation of major developments in Mandurriao district in the next 10 to 20 years. With the growing middle class and burgeoning public transport system, a technology-based traffic system is imperative. Deploying traffic enforcers would be impractical as they themselves will be trapped in traffic jams, aside from the fact that we will need more enforcers every year to keep up with the growing problem.
The ITS could have been implemented years ago if not for bidding concerns and fears of spending too much on the system. But programs and projects like the ITS are more of investments than capricious spending, especially for a growing urban center like Iloilo City. In fact, it will bolster our dream of becoming a smart city.
It is heartening that the new administration is keen on implementing the ITS, but that is just one side of the story. The traffic system will only instil discipline, but half of the success lies with the drivers and pedestrians themselves.
In short, the solution to the problems (which will give justice to the Osanos and other victims of idiots behind steering wheels) are three-fold: provide the infrastructure, impose rules sans favour, and abide by those rules.
It’s as simple as that.