Bracing for Sinulog traffic stress

By STEPHEN CAPILLAS |January 18,2018 - 09:49 PM

CAPILLAS

As someone who lives near the Fuente Osmeña rotunda area for the past few years I’m bracing for traffic conditions in the next three days, the last being the Sinulog Day celebration itself next Sunday, Jan. 21.

It’s been quite the same in the past few years and it’s actually gotten worse last year when I had to go back to base riding a habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) only to be dropped off some distance away from the Fuente Osmeña Circle owing to the huge crowd of revelers that crowded the area beyond capacity late in the evening.

Based on Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s announcement, the Sinulog Grand Parade and competition at the Cebu City Sports Center will end earlier which would allow revelers to celebrate early minus the loitering, littering, rabble-rousing and otherwise loud and rowdy party behavior that’s characteristic of past Sinulog celebrations.

Last year’s Sinulog Eve had me riding a habal-habal and squeezing through the thick crowd of residents and visitors taking in the sights and sounds of the Sinulog that stretched all the way from the Fooda store in Maxilom Avenue on one side and the hotels and department stores along Osmeña Boulevard on the other side all converging towards the Fuente Osmeña circle.

That meant having to make sure the pockets were safe from the crowd because you never know when there’s a thief or two out there lurking within the throng. I don’t discount the possibility that the crowd of revelers would be just as large, if not larger for this year’s Sinulog.

At the same time, I am hoping that with the liquor ban in effect and the mayor’s order to transfer all open space parties to the South Road Properties (SRP) and Plaza Independencia that the Sinulog crowd at the Fuente Osmeña Circle would be thinned down considerably to a manageable level for vehicles to pass through.

That would be something to see but a liquor ban and a street party ban along the Sinulog Grand Parade route is no guarantee of a smaller crowd in that area since the parties may be held at night when the parade and presentation is over and done with.

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Speaking of traffic, taxis and passenger jeepneys will have a field day fetching passengers to and from their homes and to the party venues that they are expected to troop to during Sinulog Eve and Sinulog Day itself.

Here’s hoping unrealistically that there would be fewer instances of passengers jostling and jockeying for space in passenger jeepneys and, in the case of taxis, of passengers having to compete for rides especially late in the evening.

As a lot of netizens have seen by now, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-7) held a hearing with the operator of a taxi whose driver had been nearly choked by an elderly female commuter whom he reportedly ignored since he was headed home at the time.

As it turned out, he picked up several female commuters who were also headed in the same direction as the elderly female passenger, driving the old lady to hit the taxi’s window and grab the driver by his hair and berate him for playing favorites.

That whole incident was recorded on video which went viral on Facebook and promoted the LTFRB-7 to investigate the incident. More of the same is expected to unfortunately happen again, unless Uber and Grab drivers pick up the slack and fetch these stranded commuters for a booking price of course.

* * *

I join the rest of the Cebu media community in condoling with the family of Sun.Star Cebu editor Ging Aledo Campaña who passed away early yesterday morning.

The details I got concerning how she was admitted to a Cebu City hospital were scarce but I did learn that she suffered a stroke and had been in a coma for the past few days prior to her untimely demise.

Over here at Cebu Daily News, she had been described as a “silent worker” who’s quite effective at her job and had won some awards in her days as a reporter at Sun.Star Cebu.

I’m sure there isn’t a shortage of Cebu-based media colleagues whose lives she had touched one way or another and who grieve now that she’s gone.

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