By NIMROD NL QUINONES
On January 14, 2021, a No Left Turn Policy will be implemented in Minglanilla, Cebu, which has been my home for almost all of my life.
In order to prepare for the implementation of the policy, which is meant to address the traffic problem plaguing our town, authorities have put up barriers on the highway.
There are cones, small poles, plastic barriers and they are joined together by a long length of thin nylon rope where white plastic bags have been hung to make them visible.
No doubt the mixture looks ugly, but then please don’t look down on us people of Minglanilla. Let us also understand that the town might not have enough resources considering that at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Minglanilla gave all households one sack of rice (50 kilograms) and other food stuff as well as vitamins, which is something others never came close to doing.
During the period of lockdowns, people realized how nice it was to drive on the streets of the town. When the quarantine status was eased, and more people were going out, it was back to the old days for commuters passing through Minglanilla who would agonize during peak (sometimes even during off-peak) hours where traffic flow would crawl.
Up north, the town of Consolacion has the distinction of being the main traffic chokepoint affecting the adjoining local government units. This caught the attention of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who called for a meeting that led to the implementation of a No Left Turn policy in Consolacion last December.
When the policy was implemented in Consolacion, there was so much confusion, but eventually the authorities were able to sort things out.
I do not know yet how successful the policy is, but based on what I read on social media posts of friends and family from the north and from my visits to Liloan, there are fewer rants about the traffic in Consolacion.
Now back to Minglanilla.
I am hoping that the leaders of the province and of the town have learned some lessons from Consolacion’s implementation of the No Left Turn policy.
In my five decades plus one year of existence, I learned that one thing that will make changes happen smoothly is proper education of all those who will be involved.
How do you educate?
You have to communicate and you must do it well. When composing your message, think of the audience. Consider what language would be best to use to make them understand. Think of ways to catch their attention so they will bother to read the message.
Think of what might distract them during the process of informing them and minimize that so the lesson can be properly learned.
Today is January 12, two days before they will start to implement the No Left Turn policy, but I cannot seem to find an official announcement yet as to the guidelines or where the U-turn slots would be.
I live in the interior portion of the town and if I go to work, I turn left when I get to the highway. With the No Left Turn policy, I have to make a U-turn somewhere, but where?
I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will succeed despite the fact that this traffic problem is much bigger and needs to be addressed in various fronts including improving infrastructure. That will be costly, so we have to make do with what can be done immediately.
I am also hoping that the town can clear the interior roads of obstructions like the businesses and residences that have encroached the road and the illegally parked vehicles that makes going in and out of these narrow passages a test not only of your driving skills, but more importantly of your patience.
Minglanilla Mayor Elanito Pena, in a news article that came out in a local tabloid, asked for patience. The people of the town would probably be more patient if we can also get more information as to what we will do before the implementation so we can prepare.
Good luck to all of us then and let us hope that this leads us to the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.