ILOILO City – December 2019 was an injurious and even deadly month, police data on vehicular accidents across Western Visayas showed.
A total of 529 people died and 5,139 others were injured.
Most of those who died were motorcycle riders, according to Police Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6).
“We never fail to remind drivers to drive safely and slowly to avoid accidents. Pero may ara gid tig-a ulo. Nagakarera sila hasta indi na nila ma-control ang ila nasakyan,” said Malong.
There were 8,998 complaints regarding damage to property, too, due to vehicular accidents.
Negros Occidental recorded the highest number of deaths (159), followed by Iloilo province (139), according to the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6).
Aklan registered 54 deaths; Antique, 46; Capiz, 60; and Guimaras, eight.
Land Transportation Office (LTO) Region 6 spokesperson Riza Otayde said their office is intensifying the day and night monitoring of traffic to ensure that rules and regulations are followed to minimize if not totally avoid vehicular accidents.
But there is special focus on motorcycle riders (both drivers and back riders), said Otayde.
They should be wearing helmets and not exceed the speed limit, among others, she stressed.
Between the two highly-urbanized cities in Region 6, Bacolod had the most number of deaths last December at 40; Iloilo had 23.
In terms of persons injured due to vehicular accidents, Iloilo province had the most number at 1,571 followed by Iloilo City with 1,228.
“Over speeding is the most common cause of road mishaps, said Otayde.
But there appears to be no end to the road mishaps. From Jan. 1 to Jan. 6 this year, seven people already died in vehicular accidents across the region, and 80 persons injured.
Just this Saturday, Jan. 11, another person died in a road mishap and another one injured. Their motorcycles collided in Barangay Poblacion Ilawod, Sara, Iloilo at around 10:50 p.m.
The 27-year-old Genevie Basbano of Cabantuhan, Lemery, Iloilo died of head injuries. On the other hand, Clyde Sindingan, 19, of Barangay Pinantan Diel, Ajuy, Iloilo was treated at the Sara District Hospital for injuries.
In Iloilo City, the rising number of road mishaps has prompted Mayor Jerry Treñas to implementing beginning this month a new scheme aimed at disciplining drivers and pedestrians, although narrow in scope for the time being.
The 14-kilometer Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue (Diversion Road) in Mandurriao district will be made a “Traffic Discipline Zone”, according to the city government’s Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) head Jeck Conlu.
All traffic rules and regulations (national and local) will be strictly enforced on the avenue round the clock.
“Gusto ni Mayor (Jerry) Treñas ma-start na kita this January,” said Conlu.
The Philippine National Police, Highway Patrol Group and LTO will be helping the PSTMO enforce this new scheme.
Conlu said law enforcers wound be armed with, among others, breath analyzers to catch those driving while under the influence of alcohol and speed guns to catch drivers who are exceeding the speed limit.
In the first few days or weeks, however, the PSTMO and its partners would focus more on information dissemination on the Traffic Discipline Zone scheme. There will be no apprehensions but traffic laws and regulations would be strictly enforced, stressed Conlu.
“Ang wala gatabok sa pedestrian lane…tudloan man naton kon diin dapat insakto magsakay,” he said.
After the Diversion Road, next to be made a “traffic discipline zone” is McArthur Drive from Barangay Tabuc Suba, Jaro district to Barangay Balantang./PN