A proposed ordinance that seeks to establish the alternate day traffic scheme in Dumaguete was opposed by majority of the 2,500 motorcabs for hire in the city during a public consultation at the Lamberto Macias Sports Complex yesterday.
Operators and drivers said it is not the motorcabs for hire causing congestion in Dumaguete, but the four-wheeled private vehicles, including delivery vans and trucks, that are allowed entry at certain hours of the day.
Roberto Remolano, an operator, said that if the city is sincere in its campaign to decongest traffic, it should not single out the motorcabs or tricycles because this is tantamount to class legislation.
Five members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dumaguete, however, said the proposed ordinance does not single out the drivers and operators of motorcabs.
Vice Mayor Alan Gel Cordova and councilors Dan Leon, Erwin Macias, JV Imbo, and Franklin Esmena Jr., proponents of the proposed legislation, said they are only finding solutions to the traffic problem of the city.
They added that the alternate day traffic scheme had been tried, tested and proven in Palawan since 2004, so there is no reason for it to fail in Dumaguete. Under the proposed ordinance, the scheme will be implemented for two weeks.
The unnamed drivers and operators also disputed claims that their income will be doubled if their number is reduced by half, because under the ordinance, they also cannot ferry passengers bound for various directions altogether.
The operators said it will actually reduce the take-home pay of drivers for three days, and will leave both the tricycle driver and the operator idle for the rest of the week.
Another operator commented that tricycles are easy targets of legislation because most, if not all of the drivers, are poor, and are used as scapegoats.
A driver also noted that the number of tricycles has been maintained at 2,500 in the past 10 years, while private vehicles are continuously increasing. He believes that strict enforcement of existing traffic laws will be enough to ensure a smooth flow of vehicles.
De Leon, meanwhile, said it will be political suicide if the proposed ordinance is pursued since majority of the drivers and operators are opposed to it.
Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria, on the other hand, said he already expressed his opposition to the odd-even scheme, or the color-coding for motorcabs when it was proposed in 2009. He added he will veto the measure if it is approved by the SP.*JG
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