We were in Baguio City recently and we came to the conclusion that you could tell visitors from locals by the way they drove. The locals were invariably courteous and respectful of other motorists, but most especially pedestrians.
Locals always gave way to pedestrians and stopped when they saw that somebody was about to cross the road.
Visitors? They would drive through before the pedestrian could step into the road or even after he/she had stepped off the sidewalk. I think if the visitors could get away with it, they would even run over a person who had the nerve to “block” their way by trying to cross the street.
And while locals would patiently wait for the car in front of him/her to move, the visitors wove in and out, squeezing into every little space available to get ahead of everybody.
You would think that since they were in Baguio on a weekend they were on vacation and would be more relaxed and mellow. But boorishness seemed to have become part of their personality and they could not abandon their bad driving habits even for just a couple of days.
Some Baguio taxi drivers were behaving just as badly as visiting motorists. Apparently, many lowlanders are working as cabdrivers in what is beginning to look less and less like the City of Pines.
Job well done
A couple of foreigners stood in line at the checkout counter of Robinsons Supermarket in Ermita, Manila, despite a sign that clearly said it was a priority lane for persons with disabilities and senior citizens.
The cashier—I could only make out the family name Ariola on the receipt—kept pointing to the sign and asking the foreigners to transfer to another lane. But the young men pretended they did not understand what she was saying.
Some other person would probably have accommodated the men, as Filipinos tend to overdo the hospitality bit, turning a blind eye.
But not this Ariola. She kept telling the foreigners they were in the wrong lane and pointing to the sign, in between attending to the other customers. Finally, the two got the message and moved to another lane.
Atta girl, Ariola! That is the kind of spirit Filipinos should cultivate. We should not allow foreigners to disrespect us in our own country.
Vic Alcuaz wrote, “Thanks for your The Consumer column of April 1 on the flagrant violation of our citizen rights to our sidewalks in Manila. Besides the barangay halls, you will also see police stations on these sidewalks. And if we allow our city government to get away with this, Manilans would all soon be walking on the streets.”
He said, since the government was grabbing the sidewalks, local establishments saw nothing wrong in treating them like their own private property for parking and other commercial activities. On M. H. del Pilar in Ermita where he lived, he said sidewalks were home to informal settlers.
Because he wanted long suffering residents to speak up and demand that the sidewalks be given back to pedestrians, Alcuaz said he was organizing a small symposium, probably sometime in July at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, to discuss the issue and, hopefully, draw up a manifesto to ask Manila officials to stop the takeover of the city’s sidewalks.
I think it is a timely initiative. Next year is election year. Those running in the city of Manila should be told to “park” those barangay halls and police stations somewhere else and give back the sidewalks to pedestrians to protect ordinary people’s lives and limbs.
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