A petition on change.org is asking transportation and welfare officials to compel public transport firms, including operators of the rail transit system, buses, jeepneys, to designate “at least 10 priority seats for persons with disabilities, pregnant women, persons with children and elderly.”
I have also received letters from readers expressing the same sentiments.
The rationale is clear, of course. In case of emergencies, these people cannot get out of vehicles as quickly as able-bodied men and women. The closer they are to exits, the easier it will be for them to save themselves.
In the past, there would have been no need for a petition like this. Civility compelled younger and stronger commuters to yield their seats to those who needed them most.
But these days, people would look anywhere and everywhere but at the person or persons in need of assistance.
The few times I took the MRT (Metro Rail Transit), young men who were with their girlfriends were taking the one cab designated for women, persons with disabilities (PWD) and the elderly. Would it be such a pain for the men to go to the other coaches and leave their girlfriends for the very few minutes it takes the train to get to their destinations?
If they cannot stand being apart for a few seconds, they should go to the cabs intended for everybody else and leave the little space available in the reserved coach for those who really need to be there.
The change.org petition initiated by Cat Baloloy, a commuter, asks the Department of Transportation and Communications, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to:
“1. Make it a habit to prioritize, help and assist senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women and passengers with children to be seated in front and allot at least the first two rows for them.
“2. Create more visible signs…that will help raise public awareness of the needs of senior citizens and PWD, pregnant women and passengers with children.
“3. Help change public misconception that they can occupy these seats. These seats are allotted for the senior citizens, PWD, pregnant women and passengers with children. These seats should always be reserved and vacated.”
If you support this campaign, you may sign the petition at http://www.change.org/p/designate-at-least-10-priority-seats-for-persons-with-disabilities-pregnant-women-persons-with-children-and-elderly-on-public-buses?recruiter=59483306&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition.
Chairman Winston Ginez of the LTFRB sent this reply to last week’s column about the bullying tone of the agency’s signs, which were supposed to encourage commuters to report erring PUV drivers.
“The body marking ‘May reklamo ka?’ replaced the previous ‘How’s my driving?’ sign…because the former connects to more people, as it is in the vernacular… LTFRB does not want to create an ‘elitist’ persona… Also, ‘How’s my driving?’ has limitations as it answers queries on ‘driving violations only.’ The ‘May reklamo ka?’ marking covers more violations… We do understand that the translation from ‘How’s my driving?’ to ‘May reklamo ka?’ might be too straightforward and contradicts our Filipino value of courteousness. We have already started discussions on improving this marking and would be coming out with a better sounding and more appropriate sign in the coming days,” Ginez says.
Why can’t they simply say, “Kung may reklamo, tumawag sa…” LTFRB did not say how they dealt with my complaint.
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 [email protected]