Our health, safety and environment (2)


By D’Observer

(THE author is a real person who fell in love with Iloilo and, well, an Ilongga. He wants to remain anonymous due to some “complications” but still, he raises very valid points in his contributions – Editor)

SINCE March 2017, there were a few noticeable articles/contributions in this newspaper for me.

Allow me to start with a contribution written by Ranie Z. Jangayo titled “PUJ drivers and other motorists must be disciplined” in which he described how a lady pedestrian was hit by a Jaro-CPU- Ungka PUJ and he himself was nearly hit by a reckless taxi driver near Jaro Cathedral.

As far as I have heard and unfortunately experienced myself, the CPU PUJ-drivers belong to the most reckless and dangerous drivers around. I also agree that we have far too many reckless taxi drivers, but who is going to discipline them, the TMTRO (Transportation Management and Traffic Regulation Office) officers?

No, they have proven countless times that they had NO interest at all so far to discipline violators and to do their job.

Yes, the PUJ drivers and their leaders always ask for our support for their causes (strikes), but what do they offer to the public? Mostly old, smelly, polluting, unsafe and poorly maintained PUJs for transport, which affects everybody’s livelihood, safety and HEALTH.

In this contribution, it was also stated that the PUJ driver drove very fast because he wanted to pick up a passenger ahead of another PUJ. I have raised this question already some time ago and I do it again. “How much is a human life worth for such drivers in Iloilo City?”

Answer: “Just 7 (seven) Peso, the basic PUJ fare and nothing more.” Just imagine you pay your PUJ fare and later the very driver’s jeep might hit you while you cross the street on a pedestrian crossing, where you have priority according to the “Pedestrian Protection Law” of this country. What an irony.

Being poor or to make up for your livelihood is NO justification to run down or kill pedestrians and violate laws and regulations.

Now, the next transport strike is scheduled on June 5-6 and the local authorities are already preparing for it and so do I.

I will make sure that as many as possible people get to their work place. So, who is the loser again? Of course the PUJ drivers who will have no income for 1 to 2 days.

In major strikes all over the world, the participants were the losers, i.e. mining strike in the UK, major strikes in Italy and Spain and other European countries. Only sensible negotiations can bring progress.

Another noticeable article was that, fortunately, the founder of TMTRO, our very mayor, has FINALLY realized it is high time to review the effectiveness of TMTRO for the good of the people and not only of the chosen few (who are the chosen few then?).

It is undeniable that majority of TMTRO officers has not been effective in their jobs. Hiding in the shadow of a tree (Tagbak), flyover (Gaisano) or behind dark sunglasses and without any activity is not really effective.

Mind you, the salary doesn’t seem to be very persuading to show any activity either, especially if the mayor doesn’t sign their pay checks for a longer period, like it happened some time ago.

To me, it also appears that the relationship between TMTRO and the PUJ-/ taxi drivers plus their leaders needs be reviewed, because these groups could so far do, UNHINDERED by TMTRO officers, whatever they had in mind, stop wherever, repair their vehicle in the middle of the street/intersection, do U-turns and cause traffic congestions, violate traffic rules and regulations, you name it.

Doesn’t it raise a lot of suspicion?

Then there was an article with suggestions how to reduce the traffic mess of Iloilo City, which proved to be successful in Manila. It talked about “tapping” people for traffic violators, which earned the authorities P20 million for traffic violations.

It is a good suggestion, but this is Iloilo and people here are quite different in their behavior to people in Manila. Here, too often people are being killed because of (old) grudges, just read “TDG”. The article also suggested having proper and safe pavements for the pedestrians. Well, we have that in several parts of the city already, but the pedestrians still walk on the streets.

TMTRO has to dig out/re-implement the ‘Anti-Jaywalking’ Ordinance to free the streets of pedestrians. Around 20 years ago I had to pay 50 Peso or face 1 day in jail. So, there must be an ordinance about Jaywalking.

In Singapore people face 3 months in jail on the 1st offence and 6 months in jail on the 2nd offence for jaywalking. In Iloilo City TMTRO officers help pedestrians in jaywalking and stop the traffic for it (seen in front of Atrium), what a joke …

Education and Enforcement of rules & regulations is required to solve the traffic mess in Iloilo City. As they say in my kids’ school: “EDUCATION STARTS AT HOME.”

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