The Consumer

San Juan wants motorists to respect pedestrians


An initiative of San Juan City Councilor Angelo Agcaoili should be adopted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and all local governments for that matter.

Agcaoili has drafted an ordinance that will penalize motorists who do not give way to pedestrians. The proposal has probably gotten the city council’s final approval by the time this column comes out.

According to a story in the Inquirer, Agcaoili decided to submit the proposal after he himself was almost run over by impatient motorists, even though he was using the pedestrian lane to cross the street.

I am glad somebody, who is in a position to do something about the problem, experienced firsthand how drivers treat pedestrians. Motorists seem to think that only they have the right to use streets, and people who have to travel on foot should be prepared to risk life and limb.

In “civilized” countries, even jaywalkers are given priority over motorists. A driver has to give way to a person on foot, even if he or she is blatantly violating the law by crossing the street at the wrong place.

Here, motorists do not hide their impatience and irritation when they have to stop because people are using the “zebra” (pedestrian) lane. Sometimes they even scare the daylights out of poor pedestrians by driving so closely they almost rub noses.

The problem, of course, is another manifestation of one major flaw in the way drivers are being trained and licensed in the Philippines. They are issued licenses without being required to learn traffic rules. How many of these drivers actually know what the universal traffic signs mean?

I remember a foreigner telling me that, when he asked a taxi driver who would have right of way when two vehicles reached an intersection at the same time, the driver told him, “whoever sounded the car horn first.”

Perhaps Agcaoili can expand his ordinance and require that every driver be tested on their knowledge of traffic rules and traffic signs. Getting those who are ignorant of rules and signs of the streets will definitely save many lives.

‘Sponsored’ studies

Reader Coy Papa disputes findings that e-cigarettes will not help smokers quit. He says that, after using the “vapor” just for a month, he already hates the smell and taste of a real cigarette.

He also claims that most studies on e-cigarettes were funded by tobacco companies.

Considering that the results of the studies I cited had nothing good to say about both tobacco and e-cigarettes, it seems the sponsoring companies threw away their money. And at least one major tobacco company, according to reports, has decided to join forces with the “enemy” by buying one of the better-known e-cigarette brands.

Papa also comments on the problem of a reader who said that the warranty on her branded appliance was not honored by the company’s authorized service center because it was a “gray unit.” He says gray units are coursed through the gray/black market and “did not go through the usual customs and distribution process.” Although they are genuine, they are 20-30 percent cheaper because they have not gone through the usual distribution channels.

They are not, however, listed in the authorized service center’s databases, hence, its refusal to touch those units.

As Papa says, caveat emptor! So people who want to have branded appliances at low prices should be prepared for this reality.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail

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  • Estrella Segarra Navera

    Congratulations San Juan. This is good news for most Filipinos like me who do not own a car. Sana all local government units will pass ordinances respecting pedestrians.

  • Loy

    Similar to what they do in Singapore, the local governments should coordinate with the LTO to penalize those cars that go to the Zebra lane making it impassable to pedestrians during intersection stops. That violation should be treated with citation ticket so that when time for vehicle registration or driver’s license renewal comes, whoever incurs three citations will be mandated to a crash course before any renewal is allowed. Hence, those intersections must contain CCTV cameras that are interactive with LTO databases so that any violation can be put immediately into the record of a driver”s license holder – with a photo to boot. In that way, LTO can also earn additional revenues. I hope someone makes a proposal now to install these CCTVs on behalf of LTO via turn-key and make a profit-sharing arrangement to recoup investments thereto.

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