MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – Who started out as volunteer to help solve the worsening traffic situation in Cebu City is now taking a leap to maximize his expertise in road-related issues.
Paul Gotiong, the recently appointed Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) deputy head for operations and spokesperson, has long been serving the community by doing volunteer work to address the traffic situation in the city.
The 44-year-old Gotiong said his experiences and learnings were the reasons as to why he grabbed the opportunity to work with CCTO at the height of the pandemic.
“[It makes me proud] that for once in your life, you will be able to [help instill] change in our roads,” he said.
Gotiong is one of the founders of Cebu Road Heroes (CRH), a group of volunteers that aims to improve Metro Cebu roadways through education, support in traffic enforcement, and recommendation of sustainable traffic plans.
The group, which was established in the year 2014, also have a campaign to keep intersection clear (KIC) as they have observed the intersections usually locked up which could multiply or affect the others.
Since 2013, Gotiong said he was able to experience what the life of a traffic enforcer is and at the same time learned what to do or how to make solutions for the worsening traffic situation.
Currently, Gotiong is working and implementing the Balik Pasada Program of the city government.
Gotiong, who is a freelance photographer had worked as general manager and consultant in hotels in the cities of Mandaue and Cebu prior to his embarkment last June 2020 to the CCTO.
He said he would offer some volunteer time after work for approximately three to four hours a day for three or four days a week to help manage traffic, particularly areas where there are no traffic enforcers deployed.
“Sa tinuod, di gyud lalim mobarog og duha ka oras lang daan under the heat of the sun,” he said.
Gotiong said they were trained and deputized by the CCTO to do manning and control of traffic situation in the city.
“So daghang factors siya ba from init sa dalan, to the fumes, to the dangers of being ran over if ever, and plus mga drivers that you need to direct and control or discipline. So that’s one nga na realize namo nga dili man diay sayon mag traffic enforcer. Pero dako kaayo na siya og tabang sa realization also on how to help the situation,” he added.
Gotiong said that apart from the willingness to help, it was also helpful that he learned the laws and ordinances on the roads and how these work.
It was then that he came to realize that it is not just about enforcing the traffic rules but also educating drivers or the commuting public in general.