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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, October 11, 2014
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Putting it right


Tomorrow the Diocese of Bacolod will celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, its secondary patron. This feast has been celebrated for generations. The street named after this title of the Blessed Mother is an indication Bacolod has been celebrating this feast since Spanish times.

Indeed the Calle del Nuestra Señora del Santissimo Rosario, commonly known as Rosario Street, is among the few remaining streets of the 20th century Bacolod that retained its name despite attempts to change it to honor a politician.

The antiquity of this feast is without question so that I find it the height of presumption on the part of the organizers of this year’s MassKara Festival to declare in press statement that the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary is being celebrated “in connection” with the MassKara festivities.

The organizers are making it appear that the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is an adjunct of the MassKara Festival and are trying to take credit for it. They should exercise restraint of their propensity for grabbing credit.

Must they ride on the holy festivity in honor of the Blessed Mother when more people flock to the MassKara Festival than to this solemn commemoration?

We must put things right; everything on its proper place and reason. The Holy Rosary feast is a solemn religious observance; MassKara is entertainment with tint of bacchanalia.

I also find it presumptuous for the city to ban the operatives of the Land Transportation Office from enforcing the traffic and vehicular law in Bacolod. The city is overstretching its powers to please the jeepney and taxi drivers whose behavior in the streets is an anomaly and an abnormality.

The LTO is enforcing a national regulation and local governments should know where and what they are. They cannot order national offices to enforce the law to fit their own agenda.

The city government does not have the power to demand compliance with traffic rules without authority of the LTO. The traffic enforcers or discipline officers cannot issue temporary operator’s permit. How can they enforce compliance? They would be laughing stocks to be ignored and that is what these unruly and undisciplined drivers want. They can have a field day violating traffic rules.

The most important function of the LTO is checking on colorums that proliferate in this city, especially those vehicles plying the ports. They charge horrendous fares. Without the LTO, what can the city do?

The ban on LTO Region 6 surely includes the local LTO office that is mandated to impose the fines that drivers and operators oppose. Sure the fines are high, but that is nothing for those who follow the law. It is only excessive for violators. If one has no intention of violating the law, what is there to be afraid of?

But we know that these drivers and operators are the usual violators and if the penalties are small they would rather pay the fine. A heavy fine is a deterrent and that is the intent of these new rates though we must also admit, can be tempting for abuse.

Monico Puentevella is over-reaching his authority just to pacify the drivers who want Butch Ebreo out. This raises the suspicion that the drivers’ demand for Ebreo’s ouster is a bargaining ploy to make Puentevella make a choice – Ebreo or help get the LTO off their backs. Puentevella buckled down.

I am certain the LTO will not take this lying down. In fact the reputation of the LTO of Region 6 personnel is being tarnished. Puentevella said that the LTO personnel “have enough vehicles to fine in Iloilo so they are not allowed to operate here.”

There are two implications here. First, is that the LTO personnel operate in Bacolod only for the “fine of it” and that this “fining” spree is a fund-raising activity. These suspicions had always been raised by the drivers without considering that, unless the drivers have violated the law, there is nothing to fine.

The fines appear too high but not so if one complied with the law. The problem is that the public suspect corruption in the LTO and this mess arises from that suspicion.

Again let us put things right – LTO must enforce the law; the ban obstructs the performance of their duty. Puentevella should know the parameters of his authority. If there is no enforcement of the law, Bacolod’s chaotic traffic will turn into bedlam.*



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