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Victim and violator

By: STEPHEN CAPILLAS November 16,2017 - 09:41 PM


There were two incidents that happened over Asean weekend at the country’s capital that provided yet another illustration of the huge and growing gap between the motorists, commuters and the mass transport system in the country.

The first involved a female train passenger named Angeline Fernando who lost her right arm after she fainted and then fell on the tracks between two trains of the Metro Railway Transit (MRT) at the northbound lane, one of which ran over her right limb.

Fortunately for Fernando, who worked at an IT company and is her family’s lone breadwinner, a medical intern named Charlie Jandic of the Chinese General Hospital was nearby and helped provide temporary treatment.

A report by the online news site Rappler said Jandic used a cardigan and a policeman’s belt to provide a temporary tourniquet for Fernando whose right arm was cut near her armpit.

While the MRT management pledged to pay for her medical bills, doctors at the Makati Medical Center successfully reattached Fernando’s right arm, and pending diagnosis from her doctors, she may be discharged either today or next week.

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That same Rappler report also mentioned that Jandic’s timely intervention and assistance was cited by a party-list lawmaker as reason for renaming House Bill 4955 into the “Dr. Charlie Jandic Emergency Medical Services System Act of 2017.”

While the MRT management may be clear at the outset of any responsibility for the accident — the victim had a medical history of fainting spells in crowded areas though the train she rode on wasn’t crowded since it was a holiday on Asean week — Sen. Grace Poe said Fernando’s accident could have been avoided if the MRT management provided a passenger railing that prevented her from falling off the train.

If plans to build a Light Railway Transit (LRT) system were to push through here in Cebu, the builders should be reminded of Fernando’s experience and provide adequate safety measures that would protect their passengers from falling off the trains and losing a limb or two in the process.

The same safety measures such as passenger railings should also be in place — if not now, then immediately — for the terminals that will house the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) units.

In fact I hope that the BRT units will be persons with disabilities (PWD) friendly similar to the buses being used abroad in compliance with existing laws that require buildings and mass transport units to be accessible to PWDs and senior citizens.

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While netizens were mostly happy about how things turned out for Fernando following her harrowing experience, displeasure didn’t even begin to describe how they felt towards former beauty queen Maria Isabel Lopez who gained instant notoriety for her social media post that recounted how she flaunted traffic restrictions and broke through a lane reserved for leaders attending the just-concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit.

While Lopez apologized for her behavior, her social media post in which she could be heard chortling at how she got away with breaching the reserved Asean lane and telling friends and followers to be “like Maria” left a bad taste in the mouths of netizens, some of whom endured the hours-long traffic, yet abided with the restrictions imposed by Manila traffic agencies.

Lopez’s predicament reminded me of an incident involving one starlet who also bragged about receiving special favors from a high-ranking police official only to receive a resounding backlash from netizens.

The starlet took down her Facebook account, only to reopen it after public furor had died down. While the cynical would say that the morale of the story would be to keep quiet about indiscretions, others would say that Lopez and people like her should have simply followed the law.

Overall, while commuters and motorists have to do their best to cope with the sorry state of mass transport in the country, it’s how they deal with it that more often than not decides how well they can adjust to the system which needs a major overhaul in infrastructure, laws and public mind-set.

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TAGS: another, Asean, Capital, country, GROWING, happened, huge, over, victim, weekend

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