BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Worried about the Holy Week rush, Gov. Carlos M. Padilla hastily called an inter-agency meeting on Monday morning to “put together the acts of various agencies” after the public expressed outrage over severe traffic congestion at the Maharlika Highway here.
Thousands of stranded vehicles waited for traffic gridlock to clear for several hours on Saturday. As the nearest gateway to Region 2, the Nueva Vizcaya section of the national highway is critically important during long holidays such as the Holy Week.
Ongoing pavement repairs have caused long queues of vehicles traveling from Cagayan Valley going to Metro Manila and vice versa.
National government agencies involved in maintaining and implementing transport and traffic laws will apprehend commuters who would defy traffic management along portions of road construction on the national highway here, Padilla said.
“This is a major preparation for the observance of the Holy Week where commuters coming in and out of the Cagayan Valley region will be spared from long hours of traffic along road construction works in the towns of Diadi, Bayombong, Aritao and Sta. Fe,” the governor said.
Vehicles piled on the entire stretch of the road from Bambang to Bayombong due to mismanaged traffic handling in the road sections being repaired along barangays Magsaysay and Busilac here, and at barangay Macate in Bambang town.
Padilla presided over the Monday meeting to personally ask each agency what they think is causing the problem faced by motorists.
Attending the meeting were chiefs and key officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Land Transportation Office, Philippine National Police, and supervisors of the construction companies undertaking road repairs.
“We ask the contractors to deploy only competent persons to man the traffic in sections where repairs are going on, not minors who are even poorly equipped to serve as flagmen,” the police representative pleaded.
“Project engineers based in the regional office should not send OJTs who cannot decided to supervise the on-going road repair projects,” a district engineer pleaded to his colleagues.
Padilla also scolded the representative of Northern Builders, contractor of the road rehabilitation project here, over the incident.
“In fact, we are helping and assisting you to correct flaws on traffic management and we expect full cooperation and support from you as contractor,” he said.
Padilla also directed volunteers from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to set up emergency assistance centers along the national highway. They should be complete with rescue equipment and ambulance to deal with emergencies, he added.
“I appeal to the enforcers we deputized to issue traffic violation tickets to unruly motorists, there should be no sacred cows here,” said Atty. Claro Labitoria of the Land Transportation Office. He even asked the contractors to reserve a bay for apprehended violators to park their vehicles while traffic violation tickets are served “to avoid disturbing the law-abiding motorists.”
The composite law enforcement team and improvement on the traffic management scheme, Padilla said is expected ease lengthy traffic for commuters passing by Nueva Vizcaya.
“We expect to provide a manageable flow of traffic for our commuters so that they can pass by the province with ease, convenience and comfort and not sacrifice,” he added.
Padilla also called on barangay captains to send in their village police to augment construction personnel managing the flow of traffic.
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