A civilian volunteer based in Lapu-Lapu City and a former beauty queen turned starlet both received their just rewards for displaying arrogant, abusive behavior towards their fellow Filipinos and it somehow restores a little bit of one’s faith in the country’s justice system.
The civilian volunteer, Inocencio Roa of the City of Lapu-Lapu Allied Force (CLAF), was supposedly axed on orders of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza for slamming his hands on a taxi window and trying to confront the driver for allegedly hitting him and his wife as they rode on board a motorcycle near the old Mandaue-Mactan Bridge.
Though he identified himself as a CLAF member and anyone in his position could have been provoked to act the way he did — provided of course if what he claimed was true — the least Roa could have done was get the taxi’s license plate and report the incident to the police. It was his bad luck that the taxi driver had a female passenger with him who recorded the whole ugly scene that went viral on social media.
The other pasaway (trouble-making attention seeker), actress Maria Isabel Lopez, had her license revoked for using the lane set aside for the delegates of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) without permission.
Lopez was also fined P8,000 for her stunt, loose change for someone of her economic status, and she was barred from reapplying for a license at least for two years for her stunt which she had the gall to record and post on social media.
Both people had it coming for their abusive behavior and both had the misfortune of having said behavior shown on full display on social media, though Lopez deliberately strutted her stuff and even shouted “Yoohoo!” a la Homer Simpson as she showed to every netizen how she got away with using the Asean lane while the rest of Manila’s motorists suffered the monster traffic congestion caused by the event.
Now if only others more wealthy, influential and prone to road rage are immediately sanctioned, then more Filipino motorists and commuters can take comfort in the knowledge that transport officials and agencies are doing their job to make the roads safer and easier to travel and not just patching up a commuter who had the misfortune of losing an arm due to an accident, however unavoidable it may be.
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To greet the holiday season, militant transport leaders will hold their umpteenth transport strikes to demand that government roll back their plan to phase out aging jeepneys, but this early, there are reports of manufacturers presenting refurbished, revamped models of hybrid fuel-electric jeepneys.
One such unit supposedly had a card payment device installed that would allow commuters to pay for fare by swiping their prepaid cards. Yes, even jeepney fares would be paid by card now, not cash.
Even at this time, the government’s transport agencies have yet to disclose to operators the time frame for the phaseout of aging jeepney units. The safety nets may or may not be in place, but can they cushion those to be affected by the phaseout in time?
President Rodrigo Duterte wants all old jeepney units out by January, an unrealistic target given that it would result in massive displacement of both drivers and commuters who will be caught unaware by the sudden disappearance of those dilapidated jeepneys they had to endure riding to and from work or school.
No one knows for sure how the phaseout program will pan out or if the Duterte administration makes good on its promise to implement it finally. But I do hope we get to see and ride better mass transport starting next year onwards.