Groups hit Baguio odd- even scheme for vehicles

>> Saturday, January 28, 2017

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – Groups here opposed a proposal of the city council to adapt an odd-even scheme for private vehicles during weekends saying it was “unfriendly and unfair to residents.”  
The city council committee on public utilities, transportation and traffic legislation urged approval of the proposed experimental implementation of the odd-even scheme for private vehicles during weekends for two months.
Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) head and Philippine Government Retirees Association Baguio-Cordillera chapter president Isaiah Barongan wrote the council registering his group’s opposition to the proposal.
 He said the proposal “is unfriendly and unfair to residents” as it will deprive them of the free use of their cars to get together and go out during weekends or family days.
“The privately owned cars by people from the lowlands especially on weekends are actually the ones causing heavy traffic in the city.  These should be the one to be controlled in entering the city,” he said.
He also suggested an in-depth study on the city’s traffic situation and determination of possible solutions.
Other groups and concerned citizens have voiced opposition to the odd-even scheme saying it was unfair to ban private vehicles’ use of roads when owners are paying the government so much in terms of vehicle taxes among other fees.    
The committee chaired by Councilor Benny Bomogao is poised to submit its committee report which also suggested the conduct of a month-long information education campaign before the start of the experiment to be headed by the city public information office, the Baguio City Police Office and the barangay officials.
Proponent Councilor Faustino Olowan said the measure aims to decongest the city’s roads during weekends by prohibiting vehicles with odd number-ending plates on Saturdays and those ending in even numbers on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in routes also presently covered by the city’s number coding code.
It will adopt the exemption provision of the number coding scheme.
“A two-month experimental scheme will help the city to assess whether such can be adopted permanently as a means of solving heavy traffic and decongest the city streets which shall ultimately be beneficial to the community and the city,” Olowan said.
During the public hearing on the proposal, concerns were raised on the measure’s possible negative effects on the tourism industry and on the residents.
In his proposal, Olowan acknowledged that the influx of tourists during weekends is the main cause of traffic in the city.
“Based on the records of the Traffic Management Unit Office as of December 2015, private vehicles are already at an estimate of 5,266 per day during weekdays with the number coding scheme being implemented which is 22 percent of the total estimated 23,993 vehicles traversing the city roads a day,” he said.

“This clearly indicates the need to decongest the roads to ease the traffic during the weekends wherein the number-coding is not in effect and so much more so during long weekends and major events or occasions.”


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