Congratulations are in order for Vico Sotto, the mayor-elect of the City of Pasig in Metropolitan Manila who ended 27 years of the Eusebio political dynasty in the city.
Sotto’s victory can be attributed to his charm and friendly nature. The main reason, of course, is that the voters of Pasig had had enough of the Eusebios who made the city government a family corporation.
There was a time when the family matriarch was mayor. After her stint as mayor, a son took over. As if that was not bad enough, the matriarch got the job of special consultant to her son, the mayor.
About two decades ago, all visible public infrastructures in Pasig bore a large letter “E” to remind everyone what family was in power. It was an amended replica of the large “B” letters used in the City of Makati to remind everyone that the Binay family rules Makati.
Happily, those unsightly vanity signs in Pasig are no more.
As the incoming Pasig mayor, Sotto announced that reforms will be implemented in the city.
The first on his list is the abolition of citywide vehicle license plates number coding restriction. A city ordinance prohibits vehicles from using certain city roads in lower Pasig depending on the last digit of their license plates.
This Eusebio-countenanced restriction has numerous flaws.
First, the number system does not match the existing number coding rule enforced by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). As a consequence, many vehicles of city residents cannot use certain streets in Pasig for at least two days.
Adding to the disorder is the absence of sufficient signs which inform the motorists about the city-wide restriction. This confusion is good news for many corrupt MMDA traffic enforcers who prey on helpless motorists confused by the local restriction.
Worse, vehicles owned by the city government and its officials, both elected and appointed, are exempted from the restriction. It’s an obvious example of Pasig’s public servants enjoying privileges denied to taxpaying motorists who happen to be in Pasig.
Sotto says he will have the annoying ordinance repealed. Very good.
Another problem Sotto has to solve is the lack of police visibility in major streets of Pasig, especially in upper Pasig near Shaw Boulevard. There are no MMDA traffic enforcers in that vicinity, either. They prefer to be at the Meralco Avenue-Julia Vargas Avenue area to prey on motorists who violate the number coding rule of the MMDA.
Because law enforcers are not visible in the area near Shaw Boulevard, drivers of motorcycles, jeepneys and taxicabs disregard traffic signs and regulations there, thus threatening public safety by their recklessness. This is particularly true for jeepneys at the intersection of Shaw and Meralco Avenue.
Jeepney drivers in particular keep rocks near their seats, which they hurl at private vehicles that incur their displeasure when no law enforcers are in sight.
The southbound approach to the flyover at the intersection of Meralco Avenue and Julia Vargas Avenue is illegally used as a loading and unloading area by jeepneys.
Also, the top of the southbound lane of the same flyover has two large parallel ruts which delay traffic flow over the lane.
Road safety, especially at night, should also be a concern for Sotto.
At night time, jeepneys race at break-neck speed along Shaw Boulevard, Meralco Avenue and Pasig Boulevard without any headlights on. Without their lights on, these jeepneys become road hazards.
Many public utility vehicles operating in Pasig have worn-out tires, which can lead to collisions when the tires bust, or when the roads are wet and slippery.
The oversized corner islands at the channelized intersection between Ortigas Avenue and Meralco Avenue (constructed during the Eusebio dynasty’s rule) block vehicular visibility and make driving at night time very risky.
Finally, the attendants of the parking lot beside the Land Transportation Office along Shaw Boulevard charge a hefty parking fee but refuse to issue official receipts. All they show is a ticket with the word “receipt” printed on it, which can be bought at any bookstore. These guys are cheating the city government of tax revenues.
Hopefully, Sotto will do good on his promise to undo the mess left behind by the long overstaying Eusebio dynasty.