Calamba City’s traffic management during Holy Week commended

Published April 2, 2018, 10:53 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Philippine News Agency

Businessmen, drivers and traffic enforcers commended the city’s Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) for orderly handling of traffic operations during the observance of the Holy Week .

In an interview Sunday, Jaime Santos, manager of Wonder Spring Private Pool in Purok 1 Barangay Pansol here, said the vehicular traffic was well handled by the POSO management, making traffic lighter this year than in the past years starting from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday, the culmination of Summer Vacation (SUMVAC) 2018.

“For the past 25 years since I managed the private swimming pool, it is only this Holy Week that I experienced smooth flow of traffic, for the first time. The enforcers are really doing their jobs to avoid congestion of the National Highway with vehicles for hours,” Santos said.

Federsin Duhaylungsod, owner of Aby’s Buko Pie in the same barangay shared Santos’ observation, confirming the sale of his products, primarily ‘buko’ pie and ‘yema-cassava’ cake among others, have gone up, higher than the previous years’ sales.

“Movement of buyers was fast and so with our sales,’ he said adding that “we made better this Holy Week as buyers did not queue for longer minutes since traffic enforcers would call their attention and keep the smooth flow of traffic.”

Meanwhile, Nikki Santos, 18 year-old tricycle driver of Barangay Halang, said traffic was smooth unlike in previous years, especially at the intersection of Barangay Halang that used to be another traffic choke point for vehicles going to the direction of Poblacion and the Rizal Shrine as well as those going to and from Los Baños town passing through the National Highway.

“I noticed a smooth flow of traffic this Holy Week. The Halang intersection used to be clogged up with vehicles even until late evening,” he said, adding that he always drives in the evening being a working student entering Grade 12, as a tricycle driver like his father.

When asked for comment, Archimedes M. Silos, night shift overall supervisor of, Calamba Traffic Management Division of POSO, explained that since working in the traffic division for the past 10 years, it is only this Holy Week that he was able to go home to his family by 9 p.m.

He recalled that in the past years, he and his men manned the national highway until 1 a.m. the following day before it was cleared from the heavy volume of vehicles in the direction of nearby Los Baños town, and along the 3rd and 4th district towns of Laguna and vice versa to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) bound for Manila.

“The first shift of enforcers manned the National Highway from 5 a.m. until 1 p.m. and the second shift from 1 to 9 p.m. but we were still on the road until 1 a.m. the following day to clear the traffic,” he explained. “Since Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday, we have been on our way home not later than 9:30 p.m.,” he added.

Silos attributed the immediate reaction of the Philippine National Police (PNP) investigators and the City Health Office (CHO) personnel as factor that quickly responded to vehicular accidents (VAs). Witg the smooth traffic flow now compared to previous years when it took more than an hour before these VAs could be acted upon and thus compounding volumes of vehicles that were stalled.

“In 10 minutes we have cleared the highway from vehicular accidents that used to be more than an hour. The immediate response of the PNP investigators and the ambulances from the city health office helped us cleared the highway in shorter time,” he said.

In a follow up interview, Jeffrey Rodriguez, officer-in-charge of POSO, thanked the cooperation of the traffic enforcers and other personnel under him as well as the support of other participating departments and non-government organizations (NGOs) for the effective implementation of SUMVAC 2018 campaign.

He said the clearing operations from obstructions and illegal vendors occupying the road easements they had conducted prior to Holy Week also contributed to the smooth flow of traffic. Rodriguez reported some minor vehicular accidents counting less than 10 involving mostly motorcycles and some minor traffic violations which they are still collating including the time of the day where volume of vehicles were reported on the highway.

“Our experiences and lessons learned here will be used in our planning for the improvement of traffic situation in the city all throughout the year, even beyond the SUMVAC 2018,” he said.

Rodriguez said they focused on improving traffic along the national highway and the intersections traversing the Barangays Bucal, Pansol, and Bagong Kalsada since these are frequented by tourists for the natural hot spring resorts numbering more than 1,200 in addition to the regular vehicles and buses going to and from Laguna’s 3rd and 4th districts.

“Mayor Justin Marc Chipeco wants to promote more our natural assets to tourists, without traffic congestion, so they (tourists) have more time to enjoy swimming in their rented pools than stay on the road and not get their money’s worth as they are stalled in traffic,” he said.