Council sets probe as traffic lights cost P3.2m each
ILOILO CITY—The Iloilo City council will investigate alleged irregularities in the purchase and installation of nine traffic lights in the city worth P29 million.
Voting 6-5 during the council’s session on July 7, the councilors approved a motion of Councilor Plaridel Nava to investigate the traffic light contracts entered into by the city government and private suppliers.
“We just want to know the truth because we believe that P3.2 million for one set of traffic lights is too expensive,” said Nava, chair of the council’s committee on transportation.
The councilors are divided on the issue.
Nava said the vote to investigate was not against Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Mabilog, in a statement, said the voting simply showed the council was independent.
“As always and as usual, the city government does not hide anything,” said the mayor.
Mabilog had defended the traffic light project as a measure to ease increasing traffic congestion in the city’s main streets.
Streets in the city’s central business district, the old commercial center, were built during the Spanish and American colonial period and designed for horse-drawn carriages. These have become congested with the increase in both private and public vehicles in recent years.
The city government and traffic officials have implemented re-routing experiments and tightened the implementation of ordinances but gridlocks regularly occur during peak hours.
Nava said he supports the installation of traffic lights in certain areas in the city.
But he said the location and operation of these should be based on a scientific study on the volume and pattern of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
“There should be case studies and dry runs to determine the ideal location of the traffic lights,” he said.
Transport groups, under the Western Visayas Transport Coalition, have asked the city government to stop the operation of traffic lights near the provincial capitol and in downtown because these have worsened, instead of eased, road bottlenecks.
The groups also requested that the traffic lights in major intersections be turned off during rush hour.
The investigation, which would be conducted jointly by the council’s committees on transportation, good government and rules, will also look into the procurement process involving suppliers KIV Marketing and Triune Electronics.
The city bought four traffic lights worth P14 million from Triune Electronics Systems Inc. and five others worth P14 million from KIV Marketing.
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