Women as bus, jeepney and taxi drivers eyed

THE rash of road accidents in which many died the pass year and early this year prompting Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to call authorities to crack down on “fly-by-night buses by revoking their franchise to operate. He said imposition of penalty is not enough to make our roads safer place for the riding and driving public.

Last Monday, Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino proposed that to reduce road accidents, women be made to drive public utility vehicles like passenger buses, taxi and jeepney because US studies show that they are safer driver.

Said studies also indicated that women are less aggressive behind the wheel, more law-abiding and more concerned in the vehicles they are driving. This proposal is worth considering.

Local experts have also observed that the Philippine is one country where there is low level of awareness of the need for road safety. The government and the private sector should launch aggressive campaign to promote road safety for everyone.

Listed below are some of the road accidents in which many were either killed or seriously hurt:

·         On Jan. 16 2010, 19 people were killed when the truck on which they were were riding hit a boulder and overturned on a downhill road in Vincenzo Sagun, Zamboanga del Sur

·         On June 6, 20l0 Iranians and the Filipino owner-driver of a tourist bus were killed when it plummeted into a 30-foot ravine in Balamban, Cebu.

·         On July 3, 15 people were killed and 65 injured when an overload bus careening downhill struck a concrete fence in Toledo City.

·         On Aug. 21, beauty queen Melody Gersbach and her two companios were killed when their van was hit head-on by a bus in Camarines Sur.

·         Nine people died in two road accidents in Quezon and Sarangani provinces over the weekend of Aug.28-29.

·         On Aug. 29, Five people were killed and 52 others were injured when a CUL Bus Transport bus lost its brakes and plunged into a creek in Pagbilao, Quezon.

·         On Dec. 28, three people were killed and four were injured when an ambulance on the Skyway in Taguig City spun out of control, rammed a concrete barrier and flipped over twice before resting on its left side.

·         On Jan. 2, 2011 a three-vehicle collision on the Star toll way in Ibaan, Batangas, killed seven members of a family who were returning to Manila after celebrating New Year in the province.


This news headline, “FOREIGN ARRIVALS UP BY 19.5% IN 2010 DESPITE TRAVEL ALERTS” failed to impress us as good news for Philippine tourism industry.

The reason is that the number of tourist arrivals which is about 3.4 million in 2010 is only half of the whole picture of our tourism industry. The other half which we seldom talk about is how much tourism facilities, like plane seats, hotel and resorts rooms, roads leading to “must see” places, seaports and airports etc., we already have and how many similar infrastructures are still under construction or in the process of producing them.

The easiest thing to do is to entice foreign tourists to come to our shores and make them spend $100 to $300 each daily in food, hotel accommodation and land and sea transportation to boost our economy and dollar reserves. Effective marketing like sales blitz in target tourist markets can do it.

However, if our facilities or lack of it failed to impress our foreign visitors it would be almost impossible to make them come back even if we already have these facilities. Nadala na  — as we say it in Filipino, meaning they were turned off, or disappointed.

The problem with us Filipinos is our inability to see the whole picture of a problem situation. A popular saying or proverb describes us well: We see the trees but not the forest .

We invite foreign investors to develop our mining industry without looking at its negative impact on our communities in the forms of air and water pollutions and destruction on our environment.  Besides mining is the least labor incentive because it creates only a handful of jobs.

We import rice and sugar instead of producing them. We even import toothpick and matches from Indonesia when we used to produce them; and patis, bagoong, vinegar, tuyo and daing and even fruits from Thailand.

Our leaders can’t do much, it is the whole populace that can make our nation great!

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