Issue of April 12, 2015
Mt. Province

Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
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One–way routing of Kennon ill–advised

The trouble with an outsider like Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Director Edilberto Carabbacan is that whenever some people come up with the idea of routing Kennon one-way supposedly as a means to ease the traffic flow to Baguio City, he is not exactly in the best position to correctly assess the situation.

That he can only blurt out “Yes, apo” especially if the idea had the imprimatur of the DPWH secretary (who was himself obviously ill-informed on the grave implications of the move) is understandable.

It was good to know however that before the move would wreck havoc on the livelihood of people along the Kennon, the DPWH realized its folly and restored use of the road to normal.

The Kennon Road (formerly the Benguet Road), has also always been two-way, one lane for vehicles coming up and the other for those going down. To a tourist going up, the sight of Kennon was a sign that Baguio lies at where the road ends. And to a tourist going down, the road’s diminishing length was a sign that the trip across the lowlands is about to begin.

The Kennon is also home to thousands of residents on both sides of the road who rely on the highway for access and mobility, not to mention that it remains the shortest link to the lowlands.

Like John Denver, folksingers are sometimes heard to sing: “Kennon Road, take me home to the place I belong, Baguio City, mountain momma, take me home, Kennon Road.”

And speaking of mandate, the job of the DPWH was to maintain, to construct and to protect roads. The task of regulating traffic is a mandate of the Department of Transportation and Communication, or at least that is how we are made to understand.

The problem of deteriorating traffic in Baguio City during the holidays and during festivals has nothing to do with the condition of Kennon. The problem emanates from Baguio City itself or more specifically from how one sector has imposed itself on how traffic should be run, at the expense of the mobility and convenience of city residents and the visitors themselves.

It is this sector I believe that is continually feeding Sec. Rogelio Singson ideas that re-defined tourism as a one-way traffic for a particular sector but a misery to the general public and to local residents alike. But it is a problem that the city of Baguio can itself unravel and easily untangle if it wants to.

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Something strange occurred last Sunday when this paper’s copies began to disappear from newsstands and outlets in both Baguio City and La Trinidad.

Inquiries showed that some people on board cars went the rounds buying the Baguio Midland in bulk where it was displayed.

These people did not say why only to say they had the money to buy “pakyaw.” Estimates showed at that least 5,000 copies were bought off the streets in this manner.

This paper’s page 1 showed nothing earth-shaking but one article entitled “SEC warns public of firm soliciting funds” was a likely suspect. The article quoted the city-based Securities and Exchange Commission as letting out the word against investing in Satarah Wellness Marketing, whose referral rates that ranged of four to 12 percent have been described as too good to be true.

Is it possible that some people wanted to keep the news away from the public?

To its credit, management decided to reprint at least 5,000 copies to replenish the news outlets, reasoning that its primary task was to provide its readers the news and the number of copies they deserve.

News outlets said the first time Midland was bought off the streets pakyaw-style was in 2013 when even the copies at the Cathedral grounds were gobbled up.

Again, the suspicion was that one firm was out to prevent people from reading the news adverse to the firm. Unfortunately for them, this paper is circulated region-wide so there is not a chance the news has been suppressed from the public.

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