The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) is set to file charges against those who allegedly harassed and threatened its personnel during a clamping operation in Barangay Sirao last Saturday, August 12.
According to CCTO chief Raquel Arce, the charges will include disobedience and resistance to the person in authority, harassment, and grave threats. She said they are gathering all the evidence to identify and sue the persons involved in the incident.
“We are preparing all the evidence in order to file a case,” Arce said.
The incident occurred at the popular flower gardens in Sirao, where several vehicles were clamped by CCTO personnel for illegal parking. Videos of the heated confrontation between some civilians and traffic enforcers went viral on social media.
The CCTO faced heavy criticism for clamping vehicles that were supposedly parked in designated parking areas for tourists visiting the flower gardens. The CCTO was also accused of enforcing traffic rules in mountainous areas when the traffic problem is in the city.
However, Arce defended her personnel, saying there was nothing wrong with their operation. She said they were implementing a local law that requires permits for off-street parking, which has been existing for years.
She said it was not CCTO’s fault that some residents were not aware of such law. She added that she was ordered by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to enforce laws “that have been sleeping.”
She also said that they have received complaints of illegal parking near the flower gardens in Sirao since last month. They received another complaint last Saturday, which prompted them to go to the area.
Upon arriving at the scene, they found several vehicles parked near the flower gardens. Arce said they made a public address, asking the drivers of the parked vehicles to pull out in violation of the no parking signage.
“More than 10 vehicles pulled out and four did not. The four vehicles were clamped because they were considered unattended vehicles,” Arce said.
Arce said trouble started when some residents confronted the CCTO personnel for clamping some of the parked vehicles. In photos circulating online, a rock was seen placed under one of the CCTO vehicles.
“They blocked the vehicles, they held our vehicles hostage. They struck our vehicles and they intimidated our personnel,” Arce said.
Arce said they decided to unclamp the vehicles “for their own safety.”
Arce and other city officials met with Sirao garden owners on Monday, August 14, at the City Hall. In the meeting, Councilor Jerry Guardo revealed that there is a plan to widen the road in the area.
Under the road widening project, the road in the area will be expanded from one to four lanes. The city will also address the soil erosion that caused some road to be reduced to one lane.