With less than a week to go before Christmas Day and the city starting to receive an influx of tourists, the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) would deploy additional policemen in critical areas to maintain order, police director, Senior Superintendent Ramil Saculles said in an interview on Monday.
He said they would have a minimum of 84 personnel as augmentation force from the regional office for the holidays, to help man the streets and maintain the smooth flow of traffic.
The tourism industry stakeholders have earlier informed the city government that they have received early bookings for the holidays.
With the opening of the Pozzorubio exit of the Tarlac-Pangasinan Expressway, travel time to Baguio has been further reduced by less than an hour, making the city reachable in just 3.5 hours from Manila.
Saculles said BCPO only had 634 uniformed personnel performing peace and order functions, office responsibilities and sent to man the traffic.
He said that there are six major factors contributing to heavy traffic in the city. Primary are the narrow roads followed by the lack of traffic personnel being deployed in bottlenecks, the unresponsive traffic lights, and lack of parking spaces, forcing motorists to use the roads for parking. Aside from these, motorists lacking in discipline is a major contributing factor.
Saculles also said there are 25 critical points in the city where traffic build-up occurs, affecting other parts of the city not just at the central business district, but also at the roads in the periphery of the city proper.
At the 25 critical areas, traffic enforcers will be deployed round-the-clock to assist tourists and local motorists.
“If one area of the main road is blocked, it will affect bigger areas which if not monitored will create a grid lock,” unlike on ordinary days when the traffic is manned and rigidly monitored during rush hours from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., he said.
Saculles said part of the solution that the city traffic management council recommended is the utilization of the public school grounds as parking area, with the collection of minimal fees by the school administration. (PMG/PNA)