May 23, 2024

Councilor Fred Bagbagen called for tighter implementation of the King of the Road Ordinance following a case of reckless driving and physical assault that occurred at an intersection of Palma-Urbano-Legarda Road. A video of the altercation has circulated on social media. 

On Jan. 5 at around 8:10 p.m., a pedestrian was crossing the intersection when a white Ford pick-up truck approached the pedestrian lane without slowing down.

The pedestrian shouted at the driver, indicating that it was a pedestrian area.

The driver stopped, got out of the vehicle, and punched the pedestrian in the face. 

The incident was reported to Station 5 of the Baguio City Police Office. The driver was later identified and fined for reckless driving and driving under the influence of liquor.

The driver and the victim met at Station 5 and settled the matter amicably.

With the occurrence of this incident, Bagbagen questioned the effectiveness of enforcing the local law.

He underscored the importance of strict implementation to ensure pedestrian safety, emphasizing the ordinance promotes Baguio as a “walkable city.”

Lt./Col. Dausen Zacarias, chief of the Traffic Enforcement Unit of the Baguio City Police Office, mentioned some challenges in enforcing the ordinance such as insufficient manpower to monitor all pedestrian lanes, the high traffic volume during rush hours, difficulties in coordinating and reporting violations, and varied response times to reported violations.

Bagbagen called on the traffic officers to frequently arrest non-compliant motorists to make the others become more aware and cautious, thus deterring them from committing similar violations.

He said this may lessen the necessity for having police officers stationed at pedestrian lanes to enforce traffic regulations.

He also suggested using technology like CCTV cameras for non-contact apprehension and coordinating with tourist agencies to educate visitors about traffic regulations.

He emphasized the need for collaboration between different departments and stakeholders to effectively enforce local traffic laws such as the King of the Road ordinance which he authored and was passed in 2010.

The councilor also highlighted the need for effective enforcement to uphold the city’s image and promote pedestrian safety.

He claimed government officials from Cebu visited Baguio City to observe how the ordinance is being implemented and were reportedly disappointed with the lack of implementation of the ordinance in the city. – Jordan G. Habbiling