KALIBO, Aklan–The outcry of tricycle operators, drivers, and commuters against a recently-implemented rerouting plan did not fall on deaf ears after all.
This, after Kalibo mayor Emerson Lachica unequivocally suspended the dry run and implementation of the traffic rerouting scheme in the capital town of Aklan effective February 22 as embodied in Executive Order No. 007 issued on February 20.
As it was, the dry-run originally scheduled from February 15 to 28 did not sit well with the riding public and a group of tricycle drivers and operators who launched a campaign with cause-oriented groups to denounce the plan to implement Section 83 of Ordinance 2020-002 or the Transport and Traffic Management Code of Kalibo, Aklan.
Article V of Section 3 stipulates the (re)routing operations of tricycles within their designated routes or zones. These are routes meant to manage traffic in the central portion of Barangay Poblacion.
Critics of the municipal ordinance enacted in March 2020 say it has too many loopholes—a sentiment shared by thousands of commuters and families.
The standoff between LGU Kalibo and public commuters also further seriously compromised the ability of local government officials to act and reconsider the sentiments in a coronavirus pandemic, they added.
The traffic code proponents in the Sangguniang Bayan were also ‘bombarded’ with messages via local radio stations and social media platforms from netizens expressing their stance on, if not opposition to, the rerouting scheme.
Cause-oriented groups in Aklan, including Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Kadamay Aklan, also voiced their concerns at a protest rally.
“The negative observations of commuters totally outweighed the ‘good effects’ right on the first day of the implementation of the dry by the Kalibo Transport and Traffic Management Division,” said Kim-sin Tugna, Bayan-Aklan spokesperson.
In his order, the mayor claimed an increase in colorum tricycles was noted due to the limited number of tricycles plying the routes in the barangays during the six-day dry run while some franchise owners claimed they had no knowledge of the rerouting plan as they were not association members.
Lachica also noted the uneven distribution of the number of franchises per barangay.
In addition, he observed that the fare increases and the time spent going from point A to point B on account of the rerouting scheme caused additional burdens to the commuters.
To note, tricycle associations in Kalibo are clustered into four routes or zones, with Kalibo Poblacion identified as Route 4 with 1,853 registered tricycles-for-hire. Fifteen other barangays make up Route 1 (Tinigaw, Tigayon, Mobo, Linabuan Norte, Tigayon, Estancia), Route 2 (Old Buswang, Bakhaw Sur, New Buswang, Bakhaw Norte), and Route 3 (Pook, Caano, Briones, Mabilo, Andagao, Nalook) with 1,135 tricycles.
Lachica said he saw the need to temporarily suspend the rerouting scheme to allow him to work closely with the Sangguniang Bayan of Kalibo to revisit and create the amendments for the best interest of his constituents./(Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)