I have been a road safety advocate since 2016, which was seven years after I was hit by a dark green Mitsubishi Pajero Fieldmaster in broad daylight. To be exact, it was the first Monday of 2009, which I cannot forget. Though I have a titanium implant in my left femur, I can still kick ass and drive ceaselessly, albeit automatic transmission (which I have preferred over stick shift) and even walk fast and run as swiftly as a cheetah.
Commuting in the Philippines, especially in the National Capital Region, is considered an ordeal and a travesty for many of us, myself included. Doing so─ as a driver, a passenger, or pedestrian─ is akin to being speared by ten javelins or being devoured by a dozen tigers from the forests of Northeast India.
Such a scenario is quite ubiquitous nowadays, sad to say, especially in the Philippines.
Whenever foreign visitors or balikbayan Filipinos come over, they would tend to hang on to the edge of their seats and contend with the possibility of suffering from cardiac arrest in the middle of every travel. Just like many of our dear readers, I still cannot fathom that a majority of our fellow Filipinos who drive are not only barbaric road users but also road savages.
We cannot deny the fact that a majority of the accidents in our country are caused by incompetent drivers, subpar roads, faulty vehicles, and/or jaywalking pedestrians. Such has been happening for ages now and yet we Filipinos do not make a conscious effort to at least mitigate the number of casualties on the road.
Quite fortunate are drivers who are disciplined and law-abiding for they are God’s precious gifts to civility on the road. They may commit unintentional mistakes from time to time but they definitely have the courage to change their (driving) ways and become more circumspect not only towards themselves and their passengers but also towards their fellow road users.
Pardon my French but the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are two of the imbecilic, incompetent, ignominious, and pathetic entities to blame for the topsy-turvy transportation system that we have today. For one, the LTO is tainted with corruption and misfeasance especially in terms of vehicle registration (think of the much-pilloried delay in the release of license plates during the Noynoy Aquino administration) and driver licensing. The fact that there are still many testosterone-overdosed and beastly drivers on the road who are out to exact a pound of flesh from fellow road users reflects on our transportation system, which is going to the dogs.
Now, let’s go on to the different cretins on the road who make our blood boil and provoke us to get into fisticuffs with them (in no particular order):
- Unscrupulous motorcycle drivers. Not all motorcycle drivers are bereft of discipline on the road. In fact, I have relatives and friends who are skilled, law-abiding, and courteous. The unscrupulous motorcycle drivers I am talking about are those who cut corners and switch lanes just like serial lovers who change partners. Also included are those who deliberately fail to wear helmets and those who race their motorcycles like the late American actors Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in the 1969 flick Easy Rider. These types of motorcycle drivers are the ones whom I deplore so much like the dalits in the caste system of India. In many provinces, many of them have the audacity to go helmet-less and feel like they are Maico Buncio (but are not).
- Bus drivers and truck drivers who hog the road. Many of them have been pinpointed as responsible for highway accidents. Sad to say, many of them have been taking illegal drugs to keep themselves awake during long hauls. Bus and truck drivers tend to be guilty of wrecking other vehicles, causing damage to public infrastructures, and other transgressions.
- Clueless, idiotic, and jaywalking pedestrians. These types of people may be pedestrians, but they do not exercise discretion when crossing the street. Owing to either confusion or overwhelm brought about by personal and professional problems, these pedestrians need to be hit on the head with a mallet to wake them up.
- War freaks behind the wheel. Think of Rolito Go, Robert Blair Carabuena, or Dr. Tomas Joaquin Mendez. What do these three notorious personalities have in common? If you have answered road rage, then you are absolutely correct! The havoc they have caused and the dire consequences of their wanton indiscretions are more than enough to make would-be basaguleros cower in fear.
- Speed freaks. I hate to break this again, but the fact that actor Migo Adecer hit the accelerator too hard not so long ago (and caused police officers to arrest him) is one of the concrete examples of pedal-happy drivers who have drunk too much. Being late for an appointment or simply being bored to death during traffic jams is no excuse to slam on the accelerator with gusto, unless you happen to be involved in a matter concerning life and death. Those who are also considered speed freaks are many abrasive taxi drivers, unscrupulous tricycle drivers, and other drivers who do not care about the laws of the road.
- Corrupt traffic enforcers. I have high respect for traffic enforcers who are not only fair but also courteous and incorruptible. As for those who apprehend drivers for no apparent reason, watch out for these vultures and alligators in disguise!
- Negligent public transport operators and businesses that own vehicles. Sacre bleu! They must be directly responsible for the drivers on their payroll! How can they expect to prosper when they do so at the expense of road safety? They better think twice or maybe more than twice before they send their drivers off!
- Drivers who park anywhere and commit the cardinal sin of driving on the opposite side of the road. These are the real cretins behind the wheel because they cause chaos!
Now, my dear readers, what are we to do as road users so that we could contribute to peace and order?
Are we responsible enough as drivers, passengers, or pedestrians? You be the judge!
GUESS WHAT, GUESS WHO!
GUESS WHAT: Making a ginormous profit from its award recipients and siphoning them of their hard-earned bucks are the workings of this so-called international award-giving body based in a non-Western continent. My source, who is in the training industry, revealed this to me two months ago. S/he asked his/her friends from the academe about the credentials of the God-forsaken award-giving body and learned from them that although the organization is legitimate, it is basically and actually an enterprise that is a civic organization in disguise. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when my source was appalled to learn that the address of the payment recipient is located in a neighboring country located in a mountainous region known for its biting winters. Since then, my source has abhorred the award-giving body, which tends to use prominent personalities from the academic, business, governance, and media sectors, among all other fields.
What are the lessons of the story? Do not ever fall for predatory award-giving bodies. Take a good look at the credentials of an award-giving body. Be wary when an award-giving body charges exorbitant rates. Read reviews about an award-giving body and do research on the legitimacy of the award-giving body.
GUESS WHO: Who is this award-winning yet polarizing broadcast journalist who is an inveterate social climber and an incessant airhead? My source, who is a regular customer at a gym, saw our subject, who was trying so desperately to fit into the high-brow crowd that s/he was trying to penetrate. However, the way our subject talked and behaved betrayed his/her professional pedigree because our subject acted like an entitled countess. S/he has also been controversial for being biased towards guests who have the same political views as s/he has and for being dismissive of guests whom s/he finds uninteresting.
What are the lessons of the story? Avoid being biased when delivering the news. Never ever ask leading questions unless you want to be humiliated by your own guests. Do not ever conceal your origins for one false move gives away clues of where you have come from. Being a social climber and a biased media practitioner would get you kicked down into the abyss of public ignominy.
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