KALIBO, Aklan–Tricycle operators and drivers in Kalibo, Aklan, gained the support of a cause-oriented group in calling for a deferment in the implementation of Kalibo’s controversial traffic rerouting plan.
In a statement, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan-Aklan) expressed displeasure over the rerouting plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The group said the rerouting plan is “totally uncalled-for, socially unjust, insensitive, anti-poor, and has serious consequences and hardships on the general public.”
Bayan-Aklan spokesperson Kim-sin Tugna said he is hopeful the local officials would consider the welfare of the commuting public who is still trying to recover or are still struggling financially.
Tugna said the rerouting plan would worsen an already precarious situation for many people scrambling to cope in an uncertain time.
“Isang kontra-mamamayan at isang tusong hakbangin ang pagtutulak ng ordinansang ito lalo na ang lahat ay hilong-hilo na sa papaano tatawirin ang kahirapan ng buhay sa ilalim ng pandemya [This ordinance is not pro-people. Its proposed passage is ill-timed especially when the people are already burdened with trying to overcome the hardships of life under a pandemic],” he said.
“Napaka-insensitibong hakbangin ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Kalibo na sa kabila ng kasalukuyang laksang gutom at kahirapan na dinadanas ng mga Aklanon lalo na mga maralitang nawalan ng trabaho’t kabuhayan, hindi nila masilayan ang kagyat nitong katungkulan upang mapangalagaan ang kagalingan ng mamamayan [This is a very insensitive move for the local government of Kalibo, especially in light of the fact that Aklanons, in particular those who have lost jobs and livelihood, are experiencing severe hunger and untold hardships. They will not see how this ordinance serves the well-being of the people or addresses the present situation.].”
The Municipal Ordinance No. 2020-002 or the Municipal Transport and Traffic Management Code, principally authored by Sangguniang Bayan member Matt Aaron Guzman, was enacted in March 2020. However, starting February 15, a new traffic scheme will have a dry run until February 28.
Some 100 tricycle operators and drivers joined a caravan on the morning of February 15 as part of their protest actions against the municipal ordinance. The drivers and operators gathered in front of the Kalibo municipal town hall to protest the rollout of the rerouting plan.
Also lending their support were sympathetic tricycle passengers who agreed with the suspension of the implementation due to the health crisis.
Under the new scheme, a government employee who commutes from Numancia to her workplace at the Aklan provincial Capitol has to spend more on tricycle fare. When before she shelled out P35 to get to the Capitol, now, she has to add P10 more.
The anti-rerouting sentiment also spilled over to Facebook, with users such as Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales saying they hope LGU Kalibo would formulate a better scheme, one that will not add burden to an already overburdened commuting public.
“The local government unit must ensure that in the enactment of ordinances the welfare of the people is considered at all times,” Gonzales said./(Boy Ryan Zabal/INews-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)