ARE security guards at the Glorietta complex deputized as traffic rules enforcers?
The driver of the taxi I took from SM Makati last Sunday afternoon raised this question after an encounter with a security guard. He said, because traffic was bumper to bumper between Glorietta and SM (as it usually is), he was caught on the pedestrian lane when the traffic lights changed.
A security guard approached and threatened to issue him a ticket for the “violation,” he said. No amount of explanation or appeal could make the guard change his mind. Finally, the driver said he offered P50 but the guard refused. The driver was only allowed to proceed when he gave P100.
All throughout my trip, the driver was sighing and moaning over the loss of his hard-earned P100.
I hope this is just a one-off case. Perhaps the management of the complex could investigate. Unfortunately, the driver was not able to get the guard’s name. All he knew was the guard was one of those assigned in the area between Glorietta 4 and SM Makati.
If security guards in the Glorietta area make it a habit to extort money from taxi drivers, the drivers might stop queuing at taxi stations throughout the complex, to the inconvenience of shoppers.
One of the pleasures of going to the Makati commercial center for me is the assurance that I can go to certain spots to wait for a taxi without the hassle of having to elbow other people who are also trying to get a ride or having to stand in the middle of the street just to get a cab to stop.
Even WHO’s worried
Speaking of drivers, it seems even the World Health Organization (WHO) is beginning to worry about the rising number of people killed or injured on roads. WHO, one of the United Nation’s attached agencies, urged governments, particularly in developing countries, to pay more attention to road safety.
The advice from WHO could not have come at a better time. Media people lost a colleague recently, Chit Estella, whose taxi was hit by a bus.
Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, which includes the Philippines, said traffic accidents were not an inevitable part of everyday life. He said accidents could be prevented but it would need “commitment and informed decision-making by governments, industry, nongovernmental organizations and international agencies.”
Shin said many countries lacked appropriate legislation on road safety or were unable to enforce existing laws. In the Philippines, we only have to think of how flagrantly the ban on smoking in public utility vehicles is ignored to realize the gravity of the enforcement problem.
The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety during which, it is hoped, steps will be taken to stabilize and reduce road deaths by 2020.
WHO estimates that about 300,000 people die on the road each year in the Western Pacific. Traffic injuries are the leading causes of death and disability among people aged between 15 and 44 years.
It was reported recently that, following Estella’s death, government agencies and bus companies were discussing new compensation schemes for bus drivers that would guarantee them a fixed daily wage, instead of the current system where they get commissions based on total earnings for the day. The current practice compels drivers to zip through Metro Manila roads like they are being chased by the hounds of hell just so they could make several trips in one day. They race other buses and public utility vehicles for that one passenger waiting for a ride, even if they mow down a whole family in the process.
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