The humongous traffic

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By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

The humongous traffic beside Baguio City Hall that had been going on for months is mind boggling just like the exasperation it is causing the people and our so called leaders’ uselessness. The problem has been there for months but all our public officials could do was summon the city engineer and DPWH officials who snubbed them, nothing more.
For decades the same problems have been hounding us. And all our officials can do is just to summon these engineers and then nothing happens. It will not be different this time around.
Then the City Council started working on a bill recently for contractors to post bond to ensure proper work and beating the deadline on the completion of their work. This was surely aimed to avoid similar incidents in the future.
But the bonds required are just pitiful sums and penalties for gross violations thereof are nothing more than slaps on the wrist. So what gives. Are our present leaders to be known for their lack of leadership. Does the truism that one cannot solve big problems if he cannot solve small ones apply here? We guess so. So the simple inability to remedy a digging on the road causing tremendous suffering to citizens is very revealing on the kind of politicians we have.
Du30 would have said, “Close that dug out hole and bury the contractor inside. Bu-ang!”
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I just came from Manila the other day and what a relief the TPLEX was which already reached Binalonan, Pangasinan. We made it in just 3.5 hours. In a month or two, it should reach Pozorrubio, Pangasinan and it would be easy to make it in 3 hours. For some, that is what it takes to have a relaxed conference with a client or to chat with friends over cups of coffee.
That is also what it takes to reach Sagada, Mtn. Province in the opposite direction. These should be a big boon to us whether you are thinking of business or pleasure. But we are not seeing enough effort from our tourism officials to promote local tourism in all directions. If I were to load my car’s trunk for the purpose of going out to appreciate nice sights and sounds of nearby towns, provinces or regions, I would be at a loss where to go except for the places I already knew.
Would it be worth it to go to Ifugao by driving up from Abatan, Buguias to Tinoc, Ifugao and then drive down to Lagawe, Ifugao. What would I expect along that route? Native food? Great views? Beautiful ladies? Or just the locals and outsiders bulldozing forests to convert them to commercial vegetable gardens?
And what if I wanted to drive down to Mankayan then to Cervantes and then down to Tagudin, Ilocos Sur? What resort would be the best choice to visit along the way? Or should I continue driving to Ilocos Sur and then all the way to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte?
What if a rich man wanted to build a good hotel catering to tourists outside of Baguio, where would be the best option?
How about investors who would like to buy wider spaces for retirement purposes? Would Asin, Tuba still a viable choice with its hot springs that can relieve arthritis, gout and other pains or health vagaries that usually afflict senior citizens?
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The Department of Agriculture should also be thinking out of the box and entice people with money to invest in agriculture (high value crops?) in outlying areas that should help the locals there and the decongestion of Baguio City and La Trinidad.
And the DA people should be more active in helping local farmers crack even further the Metro Manila market. There are still a lot of institutional buyers there that would be more than willing to pay better prices for highland produce as long as quality is assured. For small farmers who don’t know their way around Metro Manila, they should be strongly assisted by the DA people until they could master that concrete jungle and how to deal with the chicaneries of those who are inclined to rip off innocent probinsyanos.
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In sum, government people should be more proactive in finding ways to help our people become economically sufficient. Without such a base, a citizen can hardly tap or develop his other potentials so he would contribute to the development of a better nation or society.
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