Letigio: Dear Mayor Samsam

Dear Mayor Samsam Gullas,

It’s the first time I rode public transportation from home since I was diagnosed with a herniated disc. For a while, I had been discouraged from moving and traveling for a distance lest my condition worsens.

To my surprise on Friday morning, all traditional and modern jeepneys no longer plied the V.H. Garces Street along Laray, Barangay San Roque, Talisay City. The residents looked like they were taking an exodus from the surrounding sites to the border between Cebu City and Talisay City just to ride the 11A jeepney.

A couple of talks with some of my neighbors and the jeepneys drivers revealed that apparently, a newly built pharmacy near the Laray Church complained that the jeepneys were a “nuisance.” And so an order was passed that they could no longer ply the area.

Apparently, they also complained that the jeepneys allegedly hit pipes or some vague utility or that the jeepneys caused traffic along the street.

The route has been there for over 25 years and has rarely changed. So why ban them now?

Mayor, I have to admit my profound dismay that such a decision was made without consideration for the lives of the over a thousand residents along VH Garces.

Some people said it was your decision, although that is highly unlikely since it’s a simple inner road concern. Others say a meeting is set to discuss the issue hoping it will be resolved soon.

Before the modern jeepneys began plying the street, the 11A route technically ended at the Greenfield border between the two cities. However, since the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) released permits for modern jeepneys, Laray has already been included in the route.

Even then, the 11A jeepneys always took the time to reach Laray because they know that the residents of San Roque needed them.

This makes absolute sense. Many residents from the Laray area are reliant on the 11A jeepneys to travel to Cebu City—the same route also services residents from Barangay San Roque proper.

The route has been there for over 25 years and has rarely changed. It has not changed because people continuously need it. Older people, children going to school, and ordinary workers benefitted from the close proximity of proper public transport.

This sudden ban of the 11A along V.H. Garces is by far more disadvantageous to the general welfare of residents. Do the complaints of an entitled business owner weigh heavier than the accessibility of people who simply want to work or go to school?

I hope you and the City of Talisay Traffic Operations and Development Authority (CT-Toda) will reconsider this ban.

V.H. Garces Street has begun to develop with more properties along the road turning into businesses. Life in the area should progress, not regress.

We are a small sitio on the border of two cities, yes, but we deserve the same accessibility and ease of transport as anywhere else.