Sea dispute and road safety
Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio’s very detailed, yet condensed presentation of the West Philippine/South China Sea dispute in last Thursday’s National Press Forum sponsored by the Philippine Press Institute in Manila may be quite taxing, even boring to a lot of people but knowing the stakes involved in the country’s pursuit of its claim against China qualifies it as an urgent issue that needs the attention of every Filipino worth his or her salt.
For starters, the areas in contention are several kilometers near Palawan where our own fisherfolk have been barred from fishing by China’s naval forces in waters that Carpio said are supposed to be open to all countries.
That China is claiming territory that is hundreds of kilometers away from their southernmost province of Hainan makes their historical claim of ownership worthy of arbitration by the United Nations.
Regardless of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s position to “shut up” until the UN hands down their ruling, it doesn’t prevent Carpio nor any Filipino from talking about it and airing their sentiments through traditional and social media.
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Speaking of the PPI National Press Forum, among the sidelights of the annual activity were presentations by nongovernment organizations and even companies like Holcim Philippines of their programs to advance their advocacy.
Groups like Oceana Philippines (marine conversation), Holcim Philippines (stories on sustainable construction practices), Plan International (nonviolent child discipline) and Imagine Law (road safety) were on hand to give updates on their campaigns which include sponsoring contests for the best news and feature stories as well as seminars on their respective advocacies.
Of these, the road safety campaign being lobbied by Imagine Law would likely resonate with urbanites who deal with the daily challenge of traffic congestion and traffic violations committed by both motorists and public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers alike.
Road safety is especially crucial for Metro Cebu residents, a lot of whom still commute to and from their homes to their offices and schools. At a time when car companies offer payment schemes that make it easier for consumers to own cars like they would with postpaid cellphone plans, the individual and collective observance of road safety rules as well as road discipline, courtesy and generosity are of utmost importance.
Among the tidbits an Imagine Law rep discussed during the forum was their appeal to community media to use the word “road crash” instead of road accidents.
They reasoned that while the term “road accidents” is not incorrect in itself and in fact had even been used by the United Nations, it suggests that the person who caused it can resort to blaming outside forces, even an “act of God” as being responsible for the resulting injuries, damage and even death/s.
While the term “road crash” is technically correct, I do have a slight quibble with that point of view since even in the very best conditions, accidents do happen.
Yet I do understand the motive behind the appeal which is for people not only to be more responsible for their driving and road conduct but also to exert every effort to avoid accidents that can be prevented at the outset.
It is also a step towards requiring the media to go beyond reporting road accidents and to publish stories that call on local governments to do something more to prevent them from happening and to instill road safety and discipline among motorists and PUV drivers.
Better yet, let us all start disciplining ourselves by sleeping and waking up earlier so we can drive our cars or ride at the earliest and most convenient time so we can get to our respective destinations earlier with minimum fuss and effort.
By doing that, we avoid inconveniencing ourselves and others and make our lives on the road just a little bit easier and better.
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I’ve posted it on my Facebook account but allow me to post a quick thank you again to the Philippine Press Institute and those who adjudged Cebu Daily News as the Best Edited Community Newspaper and the Best Opinion Page for last year.
These honors have only spurred everyone involved in making the paper to work even harder to ensure that the public, especially residents in Cebu and everyone and every area covered by this paper, gets news and views that matter in their lives.
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