February 2, 2023

The proposed conversion of the Traffic and Transportation Management Division (TTMD) under the City Engineering Office (CEO) to a department was shelved by the city council due to the budget restriction brought about by the 45 percent Personal Services (PS) limitation. 

In its regular session, the city council suspended the approval of the proposed ordinance creating the City Traffic Transportation Management Office, which would supposedly replace the TTMD, in light of a circular from the Department of Budget and Management that provides the PS appropriation of a local government unit for one fiscal year should not exceed 45 percent of its annual income.

The proposed creation of the department, however, may be possible under the organizational development being undertaken by the City Human Resource Management Office (CHRMO).

Atty. Augustin Laban, CHRMO head, agreed with the suspension, pending the results of the organization development.

CEO Administrative Officer Rodrigo Adolfo presented to the city council a transitory process of the proposed conversion of the current division to a department; part of which is the transfer of personnel, materials, and equipment from CEO to the proposed office.

A proposed transitory organizational structure was also presented. Under the proposed structure, an administrative division with eight personnel and an administrative officer shall be created to be in charge of budget and personnel concerns of the office. Likewise, a department head shall be installed to oversee all the operations of the office.

The transition of TTMD to a department shall require a budget of more or less P6,847,568.16 for PS, according to Adolfo. The Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses and Capital Outlay allocated for TTMD shall be transferred to the new department from the CEO.

He said the new traffic and transformation management office will be able to decide and act on issues immediately since it will be a new department separate from the CEO.

Under the proposed ordinance, the TTMO as a new department shall be in charge in the formulation, planning, coordination, and monitoring of policies; implementation of standards and programs relating to parking and traffic management; rationalization of the existing transport system; and implementation of all parking, traffic enforcement, traffic planning, traffic facility management, and traffic education program.

Col. Roldan Cabatan, head of the Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) of the Baguio City Police Office, said the creation of the department is a welcome development.

However, he said the TEU should still be the one to lead all operations concerning traffic management. 

Cabatan said the TEU was established by the Philippine National Police in all chartered cities in the country to help the LGUs in solving their traffic woes.

He said its main functions are traffic investigation, traffic enforcement, and traffic enforcement.

He said the connection and delineation between the TEU and the new department should be clearly established.

“The operational aspect of traffic management in the city should remain with the TEU since the police stations in different places also help in managing traffic situations all over the city. If there are two units in charge, conflicting decisions or actions might arise,” he said.

Samson Guabna, president of the Traffic Aide Association, asked whether the passage of the ordinance will also see the regularization of all the traffic aides in the city who are under casual status. 

Laban said the security of tenure of traffic aides depends on the financial capacity of the city government. – Jordan G. Habbiling