Cartoon source: Hindu BusinessOnline
Word war. Word war. We love us some word war between top government officials in the region hehe. The issue appears to be whether public utility vans (FX?) should be banned in Kennon Road. Mandapat has banned them. Fongwan objected to the ban.
We honestly don’t know who is right here. But shouldn’t the ban be based on how heavy or how big/bulky a vehicle is? Not whether it is public or private?
If we remember correctly, and we may be wrong, trucks and public buses were first banned in Kennon mainly because they’re either too big or too heavy and their size/weight will affect the “safeness” of Kennon Road.
Now, if public utility vehicles are really just like private vans in terms of size and weight, then what’s the rationale for banning them that doesn’t apply to private vehicles? But as we said, we haven’t really delved into this issue to know who got it right in this debate. Maybe some of you can enlighten us.
Transport official dares guv to debate
By Jane Cadalig/Sunstar Baguio
APPARENTLY slighted by the harsh words uttered against him for his stern stand on the ban on vans along Kennon Road, Transportation Regional Director Federico Mandapat Jr. challenged Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan to a public debate where both could air their sides on the issue.
“I challenge him (Fongwan) to a public debate. If we could go live on radio, television (and before a live audience), we will do it, so we can both air our sides and let the public judge us,” Mandapat said.
He issued the statement at the height of the controversial rerouting he has imposed against vans-for-hire from plying Kennon Road.
The transportation official defended himself from the nasty words he has been receiving as a consequence of his decision.
Fongwan earlier criticized Mandapat for his unrelenting stand on the ban on public utility vans from traversing Kennon.
“(It is unfortunate) that a presidential appointee is acting as if he is the highest person who does not listen to suggestions. It is even easier to talk to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo than her appointee,” Fongwan said of Mandapat, adding that the director’s attitude “is destroying the image of the President.”
The governor sympathized with van operators and drivers who are asking Mandapat to reconsider his order, saying Palispis-Aspiras (formerly Marcos) Highway where they were rerouted requires longer travel time and additional expenses on their part.
Despite calls for reconsideration, Mandapat has not changed his mind.
He also said the allegations hurled against him are hitting below the belt. “Not because I am sticking to my belief means I am arrogant. I am not destroying the image of the President, I am just enforcing her directive,” Mandapat said, as he explained that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has been given the mandate to ensure road safety pursuant to an administrative order (AO) issued by the President in July.
The AO dissolved the inter-agency road safety committee and transferred all its functions to the DOTC.
Presidential Assistant for Cordillera Affairs Thomas Killip and Public Transport Affairs Office Secretary Ariel Lim recommended to the President for Mandapat be put on a “floating status” or be transferred to another area while the controversy on Kennon is yet to be resolved.