P2.7M traffic infra ruined by thieves

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

THIEVES destroyed P2.7 million worth of equipment to remove wires from traffic lights in two intersections in Cebu City last week.

City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chief of operations Joy Tumulak said the Theft and Robbery Section (TRS) of the Cebu City Police Office has identified five suspects who are still at large.

Tumulak said the suspects broke the control box of the traffic lights at the intersections of Sergio Osmeña Blvd. and Pope John Paul II Ave. (formerly Juan Luna Ave.) and Gen. Maxilom Ave. and Sergio Osmeña Blvd. to steal wires worth about P500,000.


TRS Chief David Señor said the wires were sold to a businessman, but the police are still verifying the report.

He said the suspects were identified based on the accounts of witnesses who saw the five allegedly remove the wires last Aug. 12 and 19.


The theft was discovered only when motorists complained about the traffic lights that were not functioning.

Tumulak said that a total of 300 meters of wires were taken from the traffic light system in the two intersections.

He said those destroyed by thieves included the local controller worth P2.4 million and 29 meters of core traffic signal cable worth P265,000.

“The things that they destroyed are the ones needed for the traffic lights to function,” he said.

In another development, Mayor Michael Rama said he wants Citom’s headquarters transferred to the South Road Properties (SRP) to provide more space for the temporary city hospital.

But Citom Executive Director Rafael Yap said they will have to study the transfer. He said transfer would adversely affect their services.


“Clients would be inconvenienced. There is no public transport to SRP and we do not allow jeepneys to ply there,” he said.

He said the traffic signal system is hardwired to the existing Citom headquarters, making the transfer more difficult.

He said that once the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is in place, Citom would have to be close to the infrastructure. “You can't divorce traffic signals and BRT operations,” he added.

The Cebu City Medical Center set up temporary operations at the Bureau of Fire Protection compound, beside the offices of Citom and the Land Transportation Office on N. Bacalso Ave., because the old hospital building was declared unsafe after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in October last year. The old building as eventually demolished to pave the way for the construction of a new hospital. JTR/USJ-R Mass Com Intern Andrea Denise H. Chua

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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