One of the first policy debates to emerge at the City Council following the recent midterm elections is a review of City Ordinance 909, a measure that was only recently implemented, which imposes a stiff P3,000 baseline fine on traffic violations within Puerto Princesa’s city limits.
Councilor Nesario Awat is now pushing to quash the ordinance altogether, premising his suggestion on the defeat in the polls of its main author, outgoing Councilor Rodolfo Amurao.
“Nakakalungkot na may kasama tayo rito sa Sangguniang Panlungsod, hinahangaan ko siya, pero siya po ay naging biktima ng isang issue na sa tingin ko po ay hindi lamang nagkaintindihan,” Awat said this week in sponsoring the review of the ordinance.
Councilor Amurao, of the vaunted Kuridas Team of Mayor Lucilo Bayron, was the lone casualty in the administration ticket. He landed 12th outside the winning circle with a vote of 38,687. In his successful maiden foray into politics in 2016, he was comfortably in 9th place when Kuridas swept all the slots.
Awat’s view is shared by many others who believe that the votes of the tricycle “todas” have proven to be critical to the likes of Amurao who headed the committee on transportation and several others before him who were in similar circumstances.
Amurao had been the City government’s point man on finding ways to ease the gnawing traffic problem in the city. He successfully championed the measure to impose the P3,000 fine believing it is the main solution to instilling discipline among motorists.
Another contentious issue that placed Amurao in the limelight was the Department of Transportation’s sweeping order on all provinces to rid the national highways of tricycles. On both of these issues, the TODAS and the City government had been at odds.
If Councilor Awat’s bid is adopted by the City government, repealing Ordinance 909 can be interpreted several ways — a surrender to the political power of the TODAS, even a positive display of sensitivity to public opinion or.
But the very fact that the City is even considering to withdraw an ordinance that had gone through rigorous study and committee deliberations only shows the absence of political will and the unclarity of the administration’s policy directions.