Ramadan starts this week

THE tragic death of 14-year-old Joshua Danao last Thursday is one case too many to account for fatal road accidents caused by drunk drivers, this time by Eduardo Herrera Jr., a long-time driver of Makati City Mayor Jun-Jun Binay and once a personal driver of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Based on news reports, Joshua and his father were crossing at the corner of Osmena Highway and San Andres Street in San Andres Bukid, Manila when they were hit by the van driven by Herrera.  Joshua was dragged for about 50 meters while his father suffered leg injury.

Herrera’s first reaction was to speed away from the scene of the accident, only to be caught by a traffic police who chased him. Upon his arrest, Herrera was found to be under the influence of liquor and yielded a licensed cal. 45 pistol.

Joshua’s death is a stark reminder that there are many abusive and reckless drivers out there in our major thoroughfares.

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President Aquino should show no mercy in revoking the licenses of these abusive and reckless drivers plying along major thoroughfares. These reckless drivers endanger the safety not only of their passengers but also the pedestrians and other motorists alike.

On our way to work in Makati last Friday, an AB Liner bus with plate number DXL-333 and has a tag of Mandigma emblazoned on its back almost hit us when it recklessly shifted its lane while traversing along Osmena Highway, the same spot of the Joshua’s fatal accident.

Road accidents, including those involving buses, have indeed remained a big problem, killing an estimated 1.3 million people every year and leaving millions of others injured or permanently disabled.  In fact, it represents the 9th leading cause of death in the world today.

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MUSLIMS around the world will begin to observe fasting on July 20, which signals the start of the month of Ramadan, the fourth of the five pillars of Islam and is considered sacred because it is the time that the Quran (Koran) was first revealed to Mohammed, the prophet of Islam.

For many of us who are non-Muslims, let us give some elbow room for our Muslim brothers to observe the fast by avoiding drinking, eating and smoking in public, especially in their presence, so that we can help provide an ideal environment to allow Muslims to pray and meditate.

That is the reason why during Ramadan, official working hours have been set for five hours daily – from 10 AM to 3 PM.  If one has any business to transact with Saudi government agencies, such as visa stamping, renewal, iqama, etc., one must take this new work schedule into account.

Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid Al-Fitr (the festival of Fast-Breaking) on Aug. 19.

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