DUMAGUETE CITY, July 8 (PNA) -– Vice Governor Edward Mark Macias of Negros Oriental has asked the different chiefs of offices of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Negros Oriental for their cooperation and assistance for possible aid in legislation of a measure or measures that would help reduce the incidence of traffic accidents in the province.
This developed after it was learned during the last session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that a large chunk of the road accidents in the province involved motorcycles, according to Board Member Peve Ligan, who had initiated the meeting between the legislators and the LTO chiefs of Negros Oriental.
Invited to the regular session Monday were Alberta Janine Lawas, chief of the LTO Extension Office in Bayawan City; Marlisa Elesterio, chief of the LTO Dumaguete District Office; Agnes Pinili, chief of the LTO Dumaguete Licensing Renewal Center; and Lourdes Villegas, chief of the LTO Bais District Office.
During the session, Board Member Ligan cited a report from the Bayawan District Hospital in Bayawan City that from a certain period in 2014 through 2015, majority of the cases referred to the hospital involved traffic accidents, specifically motorcycles.
Concerns like narrow roads, undisciplined drivers, unregistered motor vehicles, driving without license, drunk driving, little or no street lighting and traffic signs, among others, were noted to be contributory to the rise in the number of traffic cases in the province.
Ligan, who represents the 3rd district of Negros Oriental, commended Lawas for the untiring efforts of the Bayawan LTO extension office in conducting checkpoints as a means to reduce road accidents and strengthen enforcement of traffic laws, rules and regulations.
Lawas was the only one who provided data on traffic accidents while the Dumaguete LTO and the Bais City LTO chiefs said they had no available data to present to the Provincial Board.
Some Board Members gave different suggestions to ease the problem of traffic accidents while others were also quite aggressive in wanting the LTO to be more stringent in the implementation of the country’s traffic laws.
The LTO chiefs, however, explained that they are also facing some setbacks in law enforcement, such as the deputation of police personnel and Traffic Management Officers, to assist deputized regular LTO employees in the conduct of checkpoints and similarly-natured activities.
According to Lawas, while about 100 police personnel had recently completed a seminar-training on traffic laws, rules and regulations prior to deputation, until today, there is no word yet as to how many have been actually deputized.
She explained the deputation orders come from the LTO regional office 7 in Cebu City.
In the absence of LTO deputized personnel, the LTO offices in Negros Oriental find it difficult to be fully effective in law enforcement, Lawas explained.
For instance, in her area of coverage alone, from Siaton town to Basay town in south Negros Oriental, if a traffic accident takes place in Siaton, a deputized LTO employee from Bayawan City will have to travel about an hour or so to get to the place of the accident, Lawas noted.
Deputation of police personnel and TMO staff is very critical as they cannot issue a temporary operator’s permit (TOP), a traffic citation issued by LTO for certain violations.
Lawas also suggested to the Provincial Board that before buckling down to trying to find solutions to the province’s traffic accidents, there must be a thorough study to include the demographics of road mishaps.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), the lead agency in the investigation of traffic incidents, has available data on these, she added.
As more issues and concerns, from the mundane to the highly complicated, were discussed, Board Member Rommel Erames, a lawyer, pointed out that these were all beyond the august body’s jurisdiction considering the LTO is a national agency with its own charter and mandate.
But, he emphasized that all this boils down to discipline of individual motorists, many of whom are found to be discourteous and even do not show respect to authorities.
In ending, Vice Governor Macias thanked the LTO chiefs for appearing during the session and enlightening its members regarding traffic laws and hopes that they would return soon or communicate with the legislators on how they can best help ease the traffic concerns in the province through legislation. (PNA)