Bulan, Sorsogon, December 5, 2009: “I shall recommend that this Summit be replicated in other towns” was the remark made by Land Transportation Office (LTO) E-Patrol Chief Johnny Bandola after having attended and participated in the just-concluded and overwhelmingly successful LGU-sponsored First Transport Summit of Bulan held at the Sabang Pavilion from December 4,5 and 6, 2009. Hundreds of participants from the different transport sectors came to attend, over 700 from the tricycle groups, the same number from the pedicab sector and about 100 from the PUJs and vans.
This is the first such local transport forum held anywhere in Sorsogon Province. It involved the participation and interaction among operators and drivers of tricycles, pedicabs (locally-known as Padyak), local public utility jeepneys, vans, buses and vehicle owners, and the local government unit officials, police and traffic officials, and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) officials.
During the summit, several transportation issues and concerns were taken up and the participants and stakeholders were allowed to participate in the open forum and discussion. Among the topics taken up by various discussants were on Local Traffic Safety Ordinances and Legislation, by SB Committee on Transportation Chairman Kgd. Augusto Geronga, Color Coding Schemes and TODA/ PARADA Mechanics by Administrator Luis De Castro; Franchising by Licensing Officer Nestor Tan; Traffic Infrastructure and Plans by Municipal Engineer Toby Gonzales, Jr.; Traffic Safety by Police Chief Efren Orlina; and Updates on LTO Regulations and Laws by the LTO E-Patrol Chief Johnny Bandola. Kgd Dondon De Castro rendered the Opening Remarks. PIO Tonyboy Gilana was the Emcee/Moderator of the program.
Mayor Helen De Castro for her part laid out her accomplishments on Traffic Management as part of her Public Safety Program. She also discussed her future plans for the efficient and effective management of traffic to ensure the protection of lives and to avoid accidents. She also exhorted the drivers and operators to become models of the Bulan Community. The Mayor also emphasized on the benefits of the Annual Traffic Safety and Discipline seminar which she has launched in 2005, and is being conducted annually for driver-operators as a requirement for applying for municipal franchises as having been instrumental in bringing down accident occurrences in the municipality.
After all the discussants have presented their agenda, the forum was opened where the participants fielded questions, opinions and other suggestions, and these were taken up by the local government officials.
Mayor De Castro and the Administrator lightened up the mood when they handed out prizes and gifts to several tricycle and pedicab operator-drivers for the roadworthiness of their vehicles. Several drivers were also recipients of a 50-peso cash incentive for every Traffic Incentive Ticket they received this year. The Traffic Incentive Ticket was handed out to several transport drivers who religiously obeyed traffic laws and regulations. This was a means to encourage drivers to become model drivers.
The Search for the Best TODAs, the Best Drivers, and other transport sector awards was also launch during the summit.
Bulan has one of the fastest-growing transport sectors in the province. Municipal records show that as of this year there are already 1,600 motorized tricycles, 1,000 pedicabs, over 3,000 single motorized vehicles, 40 local public utility jeepneys, 10 filcab express vans. There are now about 35 Manila –bound buses using the Bulan Terminal, and 16 provincial-operation buses. With the opening of the RORO Port , Bulan has also become an embarkation point to and from Masbate. And since Bulan is one of the major fishing ports in the Bicol Region, producing over two million kilos of fish annually, hundreds of vehicles come to Bulan every year for the fish business transactions. Commercial vehicles or “Ahentes” are also on the rise.
Also present during the summit were Kgd. Simmy Gerona and Kgd Jolife Dellomas.